Human papillomavirus type 6 (HPV-6) DNA is the predominant HPV type found in condyloma acuminata: it is rarely found in carcinomas. We have previously reported cloning and characterizing an HPV-6 from a vulvar condyloma (HPV6-W50) and an HPV-6 from a vulvar carcinoma (HPV6-T70). The E5, E6 and E7 proteins encoded by the two genomes were identical, however, the two genomes differed in the long control region (LCR). Cloning of the entire LCR into the enhancerless plasmid pSVEcat showed that the two LCRs had comparable enhancer activity. Since the major differences between the two LCRs resided in the 5′ end of the LCR, upstream of the L1 polyadenylation signal, we subcloned the two LCRs to analyse more closely their effect on gene expression. The data indicated that LCR subclones of the two genomes had comparable chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) activity. A negative regulatory region was detectable when the test plasmids were transfected into HeLa and C33A cells and in primary keratinocytes. A decrease in CAT activity was also detected when the SV40 early promoter was replaced with the putative HPV-6 E6 promoter. The negative regulatory region functioned in a position- and orientation-independent manner, thus fulfilling the definition of a silencer.


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