Phosphorylation of a conserved tyrosine in the papillomavirus e2 protein regulates BRD4 binding and viral replication

Marsha DeSmet, Leny Jose, Nasro Isaq, Elliot J. Androphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The papillomavirus (PV) E2 protein coordinates viral transcription and genome replication. Following a strategy to identify amino acids in E2 that are posttranslationally modified, we reported that tyrosine kinase fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) complexes with and phosphorylates E2, which inhibits viral DNA replication. Here, we present several lines of evidence indicating that tyrosine (Y) 138 of HPV-31 E2 is a substrate of FGFR3. The active form of FGFR3 bound to and phosphorylated the region of amino acids (aa) 107 to 175 in HPV-31 E2. The E2 phenylalanine (F) mutant Y138F displayed reduced FGFR3-induced phosphotyrosine. A constitutive kinase-active FGFR3 inhibited wild-type (WT) E2-induced E1-dependent DNA replication, while the 138F mutant retained activity. The tyrosine to glutamic acid (E) mutant Y138E, which can mimic phosphotyrosine, failed to induce transient DNA replication, although it maintained the ability to bind and localize the viral DNA helicase E1 to the viral origin. The bromodomain-containing protein 4 (Brd4) binds to E2 and is necessary for initiation of viral DNA synthesis. Interestingly, the Y138E protein coimmunoprecipitated with full-length Brd4 but was defective for association with its C-terminal domain (CTD). These results imply that the activity of the FGFR3 kinase in the infected epithelial cell restricts the HPV replication program through phosphorylation of E2 at Y138, which interferes with E2 binding to the Brd4 CTD, and that this interaction is required for initiation of viral DNA synthesis. IMPORTANCE Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are highly infectious pathogens that commonly infect the oropharynx and uterine cervix. The idea that posttranslational modifications of viral proteins coordinates viral genome replication is less explored. We recently discovered that fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) phosphorylates the viral E2 protein. The current study demonstrates that FGFR3 phosphorylates E2 at tyrosine 138, which inhibits association with the C-terminal peptide of Brd4. This study illustrates a novel regulatory mechanism of virus-host interaction and provides insight into the role of Brd4 in viral replication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01801-18
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • Brd4
  • HPV
  • Kinase
  • Tyrosine phosphorylation
  • Viral replication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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