High-risk human papillomavirus E6 protein promotes reprogramming of Fanconi anemia patient cells through repression of p53 but does not allow for sustained growth of induced pluripotent stem cells.

Chlon TM, Hoskins EE, Mayhew CN, Wikenheiser-Brokamp KA, Davies SM, Mehta P, Myers KC, Wells JM, Wells SI
J Virol 88 11315-26 10/01/2014


UNLABELLED: DNA repair plays a crucial role in embryonic and somatic stem cell biology and cell reprogramming. The Fanconi anemia (FA) pathway, which promotes error-free repair of DNA double-strand breaks, is required for somatic cell reprogramming to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). Thus, cells from Fanconi anemia patients, which lack this critical pathway, fail to be reprogrammed to iPSC under standard conditions unless the defective FA gene is complemented. In this study, we utilized the oncogenes of high-risk human papillomavirus 16 (HPV16) to overcome the resistance of FA patient cells to reprogramming. We found that E6, but not E7, recovers FA iPSC colony formation and, furthermore, that p53 inhibition is necessary and sufficient for this activity. The iPSC colonies resulting from each of these approaches stained positive for alkaline phosphatase, NANOG, and Tra-1-60, indicating that they were fully reprogrammed into pluripotent cells. However, FA iPSC were incapable of outgrowth into stable iPSC lines regardless of p53 suppression, whereas their FA-complemented counterparts grew efficiently. Thus, we conclude that the FA pathway is required for the growth of iPSC beyond reprogramming and that p53-independent mechanisms are involved.

IMPORTANCE: A novel approach is described whereby HPV oncogenes are used as tools to uncover DNA repair-related molecular mechanisms affecting somatic cell reprogramming. The findings indicate that p53-dependent mechanisms block FA cells from reprogramming but also uncover a previously unrecognized defect in FA iPSC proliferation independent of p53.

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