Hydrogen peroxide is considered to be a dose- and time-dependent mediator in apoptotic and necrotic death. In this study, we examined the signaling of the E6 and E7 proteins with respect to apoptosis or necrosis after H2O2 injury using an in vitro model with overexpressed E6 or E7 genes. For this purpose, the E6 and E7 gene expressing astrocytes were exposed to 10 μM and 200 μM H2O2 Solutions. Twentyfour hours after treatment with the lower dosage (10 μM H2O2), control, E6-expressing cells suffered about 45% injury and LXSN-expressing cells decreased by 67% as assessed by LDH release. However, E7-expressing cells showed less injury, resulting in 20-30% of LDH release. Astrocytes expressing E6, E7, LXSN and mock-infected cells showed a typical apoptotic death pattern on the DNA gel after treatment with a low-dose of H2O2 (10 μM), however they died from necrotic death after a high-dose (200 μM) H2O2. Overexpression of HPV-E7 genes protected the cells from apoptotic death after a low-dose of H2O2 and from necrotic death after a high-dose of H2O2, while the overexpression of E6 genes from the necrotic death. E7 expressing astrocytes showed higher catalase activity and the levels of E2F protein surged more than 100-folds compared with the control astrocytes. We believe that the activity of E7 protein to protect astrocytes from H2O2 injury was at least partly due to increased catalase, a scavenger protein.
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