Author(s): SchneiderGadicke A, Schwarz E
Transcription of human papillomavirus type 18 (HPV18) DNA in the human cervical carcinoma cell lines HeLa, C4-1 and SW756 was studied by nucleotide sequence analysis of HPV18-positive cDNA clones isolated from a HeLa, C4-1 and SW756 cDNA library, respectively, and the cDNA sequences were used to predict the potential encoded proteins. The cDNA clones from all three cell lines were found to be derived from virus-cell fusion transcripts in which 3'-terminal host cell sequences (different for each cell line) were spliced to 5'-terminal exon sequences from the HPV18 E6-E7-E1 region. Three different types of cDNA clones can be distinguished according to the splicing patterns observed in the 5' terminal HPV18 sequences. They carry as potential protein-coding regions the HPV18 specific open reading frames E6 and E6* (generated by splicing and identical with E6 up to the E6* splice junction), E7 and E1 (only in HeLa). Translation of specific cellular genes from the chimeric viral-cellular transcripts seems to be unlikely. The mapping of the 5'-ends of the virus-cell fusion transcripts indicates that transcription is initiated at a viral promoter. The similar patterns of HPV18 transcription in the three different cervical carcinoma cell lines suggest a functional role of HPV18 early genes for the malignant phenotype of these cells.