Activity of CK2α protein kinase is required for efficient replication of some HPV types

by Alla Piirsoo, Marko Piirsoo, Martin Kala, Eve Sankovski, Elina Lototskaja, Viktor Levin, Mart Ustav

Inhibition of human papillomavirus (HPV) replication is a promising therapeutic approach for intervening with HPV-related pathologies. Primary targets for interference are two viral proteins, E1 and E2, which are required for HPV replication. Both E1 and E2 are phosphoproteins; thus, the protein kinases that phosphorylate them might represent secondary targets to achieve inhibition of HPV replication. In the present study, we show that CX4945, an ATP-competitive small molecule inhibitor of casein kinase 2 (CK2) catalytic activity, suppresses replication of different HPV types, including novel HPV5NLuc, HPV11NLuc and HPV18NLuc marker genomes, but enhances the replication of HPV16 and HPV31. We further corroborate our findings using short interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown of CK2 α and α’ subunits in U2OS and CIN612 cells; we show that while both subunits are expressed in these cell lines, CK2α is required for HPV replication, but CK2α’ is not. Furthermore, we demonstrate that CK2α acts in a kinase activity-dependent manner and regulates the stability and nuclear retention of endogenous E1 proteins of HPV11 and HPV18. This unique feature of CK2α makes it an attractive target for developing antiviral agents.

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