Detection of HPV E7 Transcription at Single-Cell Resolution in Epidermis

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Persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is responsible for at least 5% of human malignancies. Most HPV-associated cancers are initiated by the HPV16 genotype, as confirmed by detection of integrated HPV DNA in cells of oral and anogenital epithelial cancers. However, single-cell RNA sequencing may enable prediction of HPV involvement in carcinogenesis at other sites. We conducted single-cell RNA sequencing on keratinocytes from a mouse transgenic for the E7 gene of HPV16 and showed sensitive and specific detection of HPV16-E7 mRNA, predominantly in basal keratinocytes. We showed that increased E7 mRNA copy number per cell was associated with increased expression of E7 induced genes. This technique enhances detection of active viral transcription in solid tissue and may clarify possible linkage of HPV infection to development of squamous cell carcinoma.




Lukowski, S. W., Tuong, Z. K., Noske, K., Senabouth, A., Nguyen, Q. H., Andersen, S. B., … Powell, J. E. (2018). Detection of HPV E7 Transcription at Single-Cell Resolution in Epidermis. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 138(12), 2558–2567.

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