1887

Abstract

Equine papillomavirus type 2 (EcPV2) was discovered only recently, but it is found consistently in the context of genital squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). Since neither cell cultures nor animal models exist, the characterization of this potential disease agent relies on the analysis of patient materials. To analyse the host and viral transcriptome in EcPV2-affected horses, genital tissue samples were collected from horses with EcPV2-positive lesions as well as from healthy EcPV2-negative horses. It was determined by RNA-seq analysis that there were 1957 differentially expressed (DE) host genes between the SCC and control samples. These genes were most abundantly related to DNA replication, cell cycle, extracellular matrix (ECM)–receptor interaction and focal adhesion. By comparison to other cancer studies, MMP1 and IL8 appeared to be potential marker genes for the development of SCCs. Analysis of the viral reads revealed the transcriptional activity of EcPV2 in all SCC samples. While few reads mapped to the structural viral genes, the majority of reads mapped to the non-structural early (E) genes, in particular to E6, E7 and E2/E4. Within these reads a distinct pattern of splicing events, which are essential for the expression of different genes in PV infections, was observed. Additionally, in one sample the integration of EcPV2 DNA into the host genome was detected by DNA-seq and confirmed by PCR. In conclusion, while host MMP1 and IL8 expression and the presence of EcPV2 may be useful markers in genital SCCs, further research on EcPV2-related pathomechanisms may focus on cell cycle-related genes, the viral genes E6, E7 and E2/E4, and integration events.

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2019-05-14
2019-08-22
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