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Infectious Diseases - Oncology - Urology

Human Papillomavirus Type 18 E6 and E7 Genes Integrate into Human Hepatoma Derived Cell Line Hep G2
Published: Thursday, May 24, 2012
Author: Tianzhong Ma et al.

by Tianzhong Ma, Zhongjing Su, Ling Chen, Shuyan Liu, Ningxia Zhu, Lifeng Wen, Yan Yuan, Leili Lv, Xiancai Chen, Jianmin Huang, Haibin Chen

Background and Objectives

Human papillomaviruses have been linked causally to some human cancers such as cervical carcinoma, but there is very little research addressing the effect of HPV infection on human liver cells. We chose the human hepatoma derived cell line Hep G2 to investigate whether HPV gene integration took place in liver cells as well.


We applied PCR to detect the possible integration of HPV genes in Hep G2 cells. We also investigated the expression of the integrated E6 and E7 genes by using RT-PCR and Western blotting. Then, we silenced E6 and E7 expression and checked the cell proliferation and apoptosis in Hep G2 cells. Furthermore, we analyzed the potential genes involved in cell cycle and apoptosis regulatory pathways. Finally, we used in situ hybridization to detect HPV 16/18 in hepatocellular carcinoma samples.


Hep G2 cell line contains integrated HPV 18 DNA, leading to the expression of the E6 and E7 oncogenic proteins. Knockdown of the E7 and E6 genes expression reduced cell proliferation, caused the cell cycle arrest at the S phase, and increased apoptosis. The human cell cycle and apoptosis real-time PCR arrays analysis demonstrated E6 and E7-mediated regulation of some genes such as Cyclin H, UBA1, E2F4, p53, p107, FASLG, NOL3 and CASP14. HPV16/18 was found in only 9% (9/100) of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.


Our investigations showed that HPV 18 E6 and E7 genes can be integrated into the Hep G2, and we observed a low prevalence of HPV 16/18 in hepatocellular carcinoma samples. However, the precise risk of HPV as causative agent of hepatocellular carcinoma needs further study.