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HPV Oncogenesis Linked to Chromatin State Effects at Viral Integration Sites

Canadian researchers reporting in Genome Biology point to a role for chromatin accessibility, gene expression, and gene splicing changes that occur after human papillomavirus (HPV) integration in the genome in the development of HPV-linked cervical cancer or head and neck cancers. Using RNA sequencing, chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing, and ATAC-seq profiling on five cell lines that were positive for HPV-16, the team assessed viral integration sites and their consequences, uncovering chromatin state alterations and gene expression shifts stemming from the introduction of a conserved, chromatin accessibility-boosting CTCF transcription factor binding site in HPV in four of the cell lines. The results were backed up by the investigators' subsequent analysis of HPV-positive tumors from the Cancer Genome Atlas, where integrated HPV appeared to turn up the expression of essential genes. "Our results suggest that introduction of a new CTCF binding site due to HPV integration reorganizes chromatin state and upregulates genes essential for tumor viability in some [HPV-positive] tumors," the authors explain. "These findings emphasize a newly recognized role of HPV integration in oncogenesis.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.