O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) transferase (OGT) increases O-GlcNAc modification (O-GlcNAcylation), and transcriptional co-regulator host cell factor 1 (HCF-1) is one of OGT targets. High-risk Human Papillomaviruses (HPVs) encode E6 and E7 oncoproteins, which promote cervical cancer. Here, we tested whether O-GlcNAc modification of HCF-1 affects HPV E6 and E7 expressions and tumorigenesis of cervical cancer. We found that depleting OGT with OGT-specific shRNA significantly decreased levels of E6 and E7 oncoproteins, and cervical cancer tumorigenesis, while OGT overexpression greatly increased levels of E6 and E7 oncoproteins. Notably, OGT overexpression caused dose-dependent increases in the transcriptional activity of E6 and E7, and this activity was decreased when HCF-1 was depleted with HCF-1-specific siRNA. Moreover, OGT depletion reduced proliferation, invasion, and metastasis in cervical cancer cells. Further, high glucose enhanced the interaction between OGT and HCF-1, paralleling increased levels of E6 and E7 in cervical cancer cells. Most importantly, we found that reducing OGT in HeLa cells caused decreased tumor growth in vivo. These findings identify OGT as a novel cellular factor involved in E6 and E7 expressions and cervical cancer tumorigenesis, suggesting that targeting OGT in cervical cancer may have potential therapeutic benefit.
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