Régulation de l'expression des oncogènes du papillomavirus humain de type 16 : étude dans des lignées cellulaires de cancers du col de l'utérus traitées avec un agent déméthylant

Abstract : Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are small, non-enveloped double-stranded DNA viruses and infect cutaneous and mucosal epithelia. Highly widespread in the human population, infections are mostly asymptomatic, while a minority causes cutaneous and genital warts, and carcinomas. HPV-induced cancers represent 640 000 cases in 2012 worldwide and are localized at the anogenital and head and neck sites.Cell transformation is induced by the overexpression of two viral oncoproteins E6 and E7, which are necessary for the initiation, promotion and progression of the cancerous phenotype. Indeed, their extinction causes cancer cell death. E6 and E7, for example, promote the degradation of p53 and pRb, thus inducing uncontrolled and increased proliferation of infected cells. But the two viral oncoproteins also interact with more than 150 protein partners and deregulate cell homeostasis. Interestingly, E6 and E7 modulate the expression of many proteins involved in the establishment of epigenetic marks, regulating gene expression. Furthermore, the overexpression of viral oncoproteins may be related to viral genome DNA methylation.Since E6 and E7 hijack epigenetic mechanisms, the aim of the thesis was to study the molecular mechanisms regulating the oncoprotein expression during the treatment of cervical cancer cells by a DNA demethylating agent, the 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5azadC).In cervical cancer cells, we observed that a demethylating treatment induced E6 protein repression and destabilization of its transcripts, suggesting the involvement of a miRNA. Among miRNAs targeting viral transcripts, miR-375 was most likely to be involved this destabilization because (i) its promoter methylation increases with the severity of cervical lesions, (ii) it targets viral transcripts at five different regions, and (iii) its expression is increased in cervical cancer cells treated with 5azadC. In our experiences, miR-375 was indeed involved in the partial repression of viral transcripts during treatment. The results of this study further suggest that another molecular mechanism might be implicated in this repression. This is why, in a second step, we studied the possible involvement of a transcription factor, TBX2, in the viral transcript repression. Although the transcriptional rate of TBX2 is increased in cells treated with high concentrations of 5azadC, our results suggest that the protein is not expressed in cells, even after treatment, and that TBX2 does not regulate the viral promoter activity integrated into the cellular genome.Cell treatment with demethylating agent also leads to loss of viability, in particular in Ca Ski cells. Indeed, 5azadC induces a G2/M cycle arrest in these cells, an increase of Sub-G1 cells percentage and a PARP cleavage. While 5azadC is already used in clinical practice for the treatment of other cancers, our data shed new light on the molecular mechanisms of 5azadC in cancers induced by HPV, which could be treated by this molecule or analogues.
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Jérôme Perrard. Régulation de l'expression des oncogènes du papillomavirus humain de type 16 : étude dans des lignées cellulaires de cancers du col de l'utérus traitées avec un agent déméthylant. Médecine humaine et pathologie. Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019UBFCE004⟩. ⟨tel-02166973v2⟩

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