The physical state of the human papillomavirus (HPV) genome is usually different in malignant lesions of the skin, in which it is generally found in episomal form, and genital mucosa, in which it is frequently integrated with disruption of the E2 gene. Using chimeric or natural HPV promoters in the presence of the bovine papillomavirus type 1 E2 gene product, we observed transcription activation or repression, depending on the distance of E2-binding motifs from the start site. We found a clear difference in the positions of E2-binding motifs in cutaneous and genital HPVs that may partly explain the selective pressure for genome integration of genital HPV types in malignant lesions.


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