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Bovine papillomavirus E5 and E7 oncoproteins in naturally occurring tumors: are two better than one?

Annunziata Corteggio, Gennaro Altamura, Franco Roperto and Giuseppe Borzacchiello*

Author Affiliations

Department of Pathology and Animal Health, University of Naples Federico II, Via Veterinaria, Napoli 1 80137, Italy

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Infectious Agents and Cancer 2013, 8:1  doi:10.1186/1750-9378-8-1

Published: 9 January 2013


Bovine papillomaviruses (BPVs) are oncogenic DNA viruses, which mainly induce benign lesions of cutaneous and/or mucosal epithelia in cattle. Thirteen (BPV 1–13) different viral genotypes have been characterized so far. BPVs are usually species-specific but BPV 1/2 may also infect equids as well as buffaloes and bison and cause tumors in these species. BPV-induced benign lesions usually regress, however occasionally they develop into cancer particularly in the presence of environmental carcinogenic co-factors. The major transforming protein of BPV is E5, a very short hydrophobic, transmembrane protein with many oncogenic activities. E5 contributes to cell transformation through the activation of the cellular β receptor for the platelet-derived growth factor (PDGFβ-r), it also decreases cell surface expression of major histocompatibility complex class I (MHCI) causing viral escape from immunosurveillance, and plays a role in the inhibition of the intracellular communication by means of aberrant connexin expression. E7 is considered as a weak transforming gene, it synergies with E5 in cell transformation during cancer development. E7 expression correlates in vivo with the over-expression of β1-integrin, which plays a role in the regulation of keratinocytes proliferation and differentiation. Additionally, E7 is involved in cell-mediated immune responses leading to tumour rejection, in anoikis process by direct binding to p600, and in invasion process by upregulation of Matrix metalloproteinase1 (MMP-1) expression. Studies on the role of BPV E5 and E7 oncoproteins in naturally occurring tumours are of scientific value, as they may shed new light on the biological role of these two oncogenes in cell transformation.

Bovine papillomavirus; Cow; E5; E7; Equids; Papillomas; Sarcoid; Viral oncogenes