Using the polymerase chain reaction technique, we cloned and sequenced DNA fragments containing the E6 genes of the epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EV)-associated HPVs 5, 8, 14, 20, 21, 25, and 47, of which only the sequences of HPVs 5, 8, and 47 have previously been reported. Based on the deduced amino acid sequence homology (57.3 to 83.0%), these HPVs could be divided into two clusters: HPVs 5, 8, and 47, and HPVs 14, 20, 21, and 25. The E6 genes of three HPVs from each cluster were examined for transforming activity toward a cultured rat fibroblast cell line, 3Y1, using the retrovirus-mediated gene transfer technique, and all were found to induce morphological transformation. However, the E6 genes of the first cluster were more potent than those of the second. Since HPVs 5 and 8 are the most frequently found HPVs in malignant lesions of EV patients, the observed in vitro transforming activities of the E6 genes may reflect their oncogenic potential in humans. © 1992.
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