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Human herpesvirus 6B inhibits cell proliferation by a p53-independent pathway

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  • Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology

BACKGROUND: Various forms of cellular stress can activate the tumour suppressor protein p53, an important regulator of cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and cellular senescence. Cells infected by human herpesvirus 6B (HHV-6B) accumulate aberrant amounts of p53. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate the role of p53 accumulation in the HHV-6B-induced cell cycle arrest. STUDY DESIGN: The role of p53 was studied using the p53 inhibitor pifithrin-a, and cells genetically deficient in functional p53 by homologous recombination. RESULTS: In response to HHV-6B infection, epithelial cells were arrested in the G1/S phase of the cell cycle concomitant with an aberrant accumulation of p53. However, the known p53-induced mediator of cell cycle arrest, p21, was not upregulated. Approximately 90% of the cells expressed HHV-6B p41, indicative of viral infection. The presence of pifithrin-a, a p53 inhibitor, did not reverse the HHV-6B-induced cell cycle block. In support of this, HHV-6B infection of p53(-/-) cells induced a cell cycle block before S-phase with kinetics similar to or faster than that observed by infection in wt cells. CONCLUSIONS: HHV-6B infection inhibited host cell proliferation concomitantly with p53 accumulation, but importantly the block in cell cycle occurred by a pathway independent of p53.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
VolumeSuppl. 1
Pages (from-to)S63-S68
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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