The ability of viral oncoproteins to subvert cell cycle checkpoints may constitute a mechanism by which viral oncoproteins induce genetic instability. HPV 16 E6 and E7 disrupt cell cycle checkpoints, particularly affecting nearly all cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors linked to the G1- and G2-checkpoints, in each case by means of a different mechanism. HPV 16 E7 shows homology with the pRb binding sites of cyclin D1, which consequently releases E2F. In addition, E7 directly binds to p21, and releases PCNA and other S-phase promoting genes. In turn, released E2F activates cyclin E, and cyclin E accelerates p27 proteolysis as a function of the antagonistic reaction of its own inhibitor. The induction of p16 expression is assumed to be indirectly associated with E7, which is upregulated only after prolonged inactivation of Rb. HPV 16 E6 decreased the fidelity of multiple checkpoints controlling both entry into and exit from mitosis, with the mechanism of p53 inactivation. In addition, HPV 16 E6 increased the sensitivity to chemically induced S-phase premature mitosis and decreased mitotic spindle assembly checkpoint function. Alongside the impressive advances made in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms, which HPV disrupts, the validity of these conclusions should be evaluated in the diagnostic and prognostic fields.
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