The role of RNA-binding proteins in the processing of mRNAs produced by carcinogenic papillomaviruses

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are epitheliotropic DNA tumor viruses that are prevalent in the human population. A subset of the HPVs termed high-risk HPVs (HR-HPVs) are causative agents of anogenital cancers and head-and-neck cancers. Cancer is the result of persistent high-risk HPV infections that have not been cleared by the immune system of the host. These infections are characterized by dysregulated HPV gene expression, in particular constitutive high expression of the HPV E6 and E7 oncogenes and absence of the highly immunogenic viral L1 and L2 capsid proteins. HPVs make extensive use of alternative mRNA splicing to express its genes and are therefore highly dependent on cellular RNA-binding proteins for proper gene expression. Levels of RNA-binding proteins are altered in HPV-containing premalignant cervical lesions and in cervical cancer. Here we review our current knowledge of RNA-binding proteins that control HPV gene expression. We focus on RNA-binding proteins that control expression of the E6 and E7 oncogenes since they initiate and drive development of cancer and on the immunogenic L1 and L2 proteins as there silencing may contribute to immune evasion during carcinogenesis. Furthermore, cellular RNA-binding proteins are essential for HPV gene expression and as such may be targets for therapy to HPV infections and HPV-driven cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-496
Number of pages15
JournalSeminars in Cancer Biology
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Nov

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Microbiology in the medical area


  • Akt
  • DDR
  • hnRNP
  • Papillomavirus
  • Polyadenylation
  • Splicing
  • SR protein


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