The human papillomavirus (HPV) E1 helicase promotes viral DNA replication through its DNA unwinding activity and association with host factors. The E1 proteins from anogenital HPV types interact with the cellular WD repeat-containing factor UAF1 (formerly known as p80). Specific amino acid substitutions in E1 that impair this interaction inhibit maintenance of the viral episome in immortalized keratinocytes and reduce viral DNA replication by up to 70% in transient assays. In this study, we determined by affinity purification of UAF1 that it interacts with three deubiquitinating enzymes in C33A cervical carcinoma cells: USP1, a nuclear protein, and the two cytoplasmic enzymes USP12 and USP46. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments indicated that E1 assembles into a ternary complex with UAF1 and any one of these three USPs. Moreover, expression of E1 leads to a redistribution of USP12 and USP46 from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. Chromatin immunoprecipitation studies further revealed that E1 recruits these threes USPs to the viral origin in association with UAF1. The function of USP1, USP12, and USP46 in viral DNA replication was investigated by overproduction of catalytically inactive versions of these enzymes in transient assays. All three dominant negative USPs reduced HPV31 DNA replication by up to 60%, an effect that was specific, as it was not observed in assays performed with a truncated E1 lacking the UAF1-binding domain or with bovine papillomavirus 1 E1, which does not bind UAF1. These results highlight the importance of the USP1, USP12, and USP46 deubiquitinating enzymes in anogenital HPV DNA replication.
Importance: Human papillomaviruses are small DNA tumor viruses that induce benign and malignant lesions of the skin and mucosa. HPV types that infect the anogenital tract are the etiological agents of cervical cancer, the majority of anal cancers, and a growing proportion of head-and-neck cancers. Replication of the HPV genome requires the viral protein E1, a DNA helicase that also interacts with host factors to promote viral DNA synthesis. We previously reported that the E1 helicase from anogenital HPV types associates with the WD40 repeat-containing protein UAF1. Here, we show that UAF1 bridges the interaction of E1 with three deubiquitinating enzymes, USP1, USP12, and USP46. We further show that these deubiquitinases are recruited by E1/UAF1 to the viral origin of DNA replication and that overexpression of catalytically inactive versions of these enzymes reduces viral DNA replication. These results highlight the need for an E1-associated deubiquitinase activity in anogenital HPV genome replication.
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