Non-human primates (NHPs) are infected with papillomaviruses (PVs) closely related to their human counterparts, but there are few studies on the carcinogenicity of NHP-PVs. Using an in vitro cell co-Transfection assay, we systematically screened the biochemical activity of E6 proteins encoded by macaque PVs for their ability to bind and promote degradation of host p53 proteins. A host species barrier exists between HPV16 and MfPV3 with respect to E6-mediated p53 degradation that is reversed when p53 residue 129 is swapped between human and macaque hosts. Systematic investigation found that E6 proteins encoded by most macaque PV types in the high-risk species ?12, but not other Alpha-PV clades or Beta-/Gamma-PV genera, can effectively promote monkey p53 degradation. Interestingly, two macaque PV types (MfPV10 and MmPV1) can simultaneously inhibit the expression of human and monkey p53 proteins, revealing complex cross-host interactions between PV oncogenes and host proteomes. Single point-mutant experiments revealed that E6 residue 47 directly interacts with p53 residue 129 for host-specific degradation. These findings suggest an ancient host niche adaptation toward a carcinogenic phenotype in high-risk primate PV ancestors. Following periods of primate host speciation, a loss-offunction mutation model could be responsible for the formation of a host species barrier to E6-mediated p53 degradation between HPVs and NHP-PVs. Our work lays a genetic and functional basis for PV carcinogenicity, which provides important insights into the origin and evolution of specific pathogens in host pathogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology