Epidermodysplasia-verruciformis-associated human papilloma virus DNA has been detected in skin cancers, in premalignant and benign skin lesions, and in plucked hairs from immunocompetent and immunosuppressed patients. The role of epidermodysplasia-verruciformis-associated human papilloma virus in the pathogenesis of nonmelanoma skin cancer is still enigmatic. In organotypic cultures we investigated the effects of retroviral transduction of the E6 and E7 genes of epidermodysplasia-verruciformis-associated human papilloma virus types 5, 12, 15, 17, 20, and 38 on the growth and differentiation of human keratinocytes. Differentiation was disturbed to different degrees as revealed by histology and by the expression patterns of differentiation markers keratin 10 and small proline rich protein 2. Conversely, proliferating cell nuclear antigen was induced in some of the suprabasal, differentiated cells to varying extent. No unscheduled DNA synthesis was detected in these cells, however, as probed by 5′-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine incorporation. Most intriguingly, when the E6 and E7 genes of epidermodysplasia-verruciformis-associated human papilloma virus types 15 and 17 were transduced, a broadening layer of basal cells and an accelerated differentiation were observed. In addition, "papilla-like structures" comprising basal-like keratinocytes arose from the basal layer into the differentiated layers. These cells did not express the differentiation markers keratin 10 and small proline rich protein 2, but did actively replicate DNA. These observations warrant further research by using this system to elucidate the replication strategy of epidermodysplasia-verruciformis-associated human papilloma virus types in keratinocytes and to shed light on the role of these human papilloma virus types in the pathogenesis of skin cancer.
- Keratinocyte raft cultures
- Squamous differentiation