Alleviation of human papillomavirus E2-mediated transcriptional repression via formation of a TATA binding protein (or TFIID)-TFIIB-RNA polymerase II-TFIIF preinitiation complex.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Molecular and cellular biology


Base Sequence; DNA-Binding Proteins; Gene Expression Regulation, Viral; HeLa Cells; Humans; Molecular Sequence Data; Oncogene Proteins, Viral; Papillomaviridae; Protein Binding; RNA Polymerase II; TATA Box; Transcription Factor TFIID; Transcription Factors, TFII; Transcription, Genetic


Transcription in human papillomaviruses (HPVs) is mainly regulated by cellular transcription factors and virus-encoded E2 proteins that act as sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins. Although the functions of E2 as a transcriptional activator and a repressor have been well documented, the role of cellular factors involved in E2-mediated regulation of the HPV promoters and the mechanism by which E2 modulates viral gene expression remain unclear. Using reconstituted cell-free transcription systems, we found that cellular enhancer-binding factors and general cofactors, such as TAF(II)s, TFIIA, Mediator, and PC4, are not required for E2-mediated repression. Unlike other transcriptional repressors that function through recruitment of histone deacetylase or corepressor complexes, HPV E2 is able to directly target components of the general transcription machinery to exert its repressor activity on the natural HPV E6 promoter. Interestingly, preincubation of TATA binding protein (TBP) or TFIID with HPV template is not sufficient to overcome E2-mediated repression, which can be alleviated only via formation of a minimal TBP (or TFIID)-TFIIB-RNA polymerase II-TFIIF preinitiation complex. Our data therefore indicate that E2 does not simply work by displacing TBP or TFIID from binding to the adjacent TATA box. Instead, E2 appears to function as an active repressor that directly inhibits HPV transcription at steps after TATA recognition by TBP or TFIID.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)




Samuel Hou is affiliated with Providence St. Joseph Health.