The hallmark of high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV)-related carcinogenesis is E6 and E7 oncogene overexpression. The aim of this work was to characterize epithelial oral and cervical cancer cells that express HR-HPV E6 and E7 oncoproteins. Transcriptomic assay using DNA microarrays revealed that PIR gene expression was detected in oral cells in an HR-HPV E6/E7-dependent manner. In addition, PIR was overexpressed in HPV-positive SiHa and Ca Ski cells, whereas it was undetectable in HPV-negative C33A cells. The PIR expression was dependent on functional HR-HPV E6 and E7 oncoproteins even though the E7 oncoprotein had higher activity to induce PIR overexpression in comparison with E6. In addition, using an siRNA for PIR silencing in oral cells ectopically expressing HR-HPV E6/E7, there was a significant increase in E-cadherin transcripts and a decrease in Vimentin, Slug, Zeb and Snail transcripts, suggesting that HR-HPV-induced PIR overexpression is involved in epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Furthermore, migration of PIR-silenced cells was significantly decreased. Finally, using inhibitors of some specific pathways, it was found that EGFR/ERK and PI3 K/AKT signalling pathways are important for E7-mediated PIR overexpression. It can be concluded that PIR gene expression is highly dependent on the expression of HR-HPV oncoproteins and is important for EMT regulation.
Carrillo, D., Munõz, J. P., Huerta, H., Leal, G., Corvalán, A., León, O., … Aguayo, F. (2017). Upregulation of PIR gene expression induced by human papillomavirus E6 and E7 in epithelial oral and cervical cells. Open Biology, 7(11). https://doi.org/10.1098/rsob.170111