The SK-v cells, established from a premalignant vulvar lesion, contain human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) sequences integrated at a single cellular site and derive from a cell clone present . Transcription of the HPV-16 genome in SK-v cells was analysed by cDNA heteroduplex mapping and sequencing, and by RNase mapping. Viral sequences were shown to be transcribed into virus-cell fusion messengers. The two major transcripts have a coding capacity for a truncated E6 protein, an E7 protein and an E1–E4 fusion protein, but differ in their 3′ virus-cell junction. Minor transcripts have a coding capacity for a full-length E6 protein and another truncated version of E6. The transcription pattern in the E6–E7 region was found to be the same both in SK-v cells and in CaSki cells, a line derived from an invasive cervical carcinoma. Immunoprecipitation experiments showed that the E6 protein (18K) and, predominantly, the E7 protein (20K) are expressed in SK-v cells as in CaSki cells. The E7 protein was found in a two- to threefold lower amount in SK-v cells, but showing the same half-life (about 1 h).


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