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HPV-positive (HPV+) cervical cancer (CC) cells have been reported to express the IL-2 receptor (IL-2R) in contrast to virus-negative CC cells. This work was carried out to evaluate whether HPV infection induces IL-2R expression in CC cells. The analysis of the IL-2R expression data collected from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Genotype Tissue Expression project (GTEx) using the Xena platform demonstrate a higher expression of IL-2R subunits in CC tumors in comparison with normal tissues. Moreover IL-2Rβ expression is consistently higher in HPV+ tumors versus HPV- tumors. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that transfection of the HPV E6/E7 genes into the C33A (HPV-) cell line promotes IL-2R expression and regulates proliferation in response to exogenous IL-2. Additionally, we found that HPV+ cell lines enhances their proliferation in co-culture with peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs). To corroborate that the viral proteins E6 and E7 were related to the effects mediated by IL-2, we used cells derived from the HeLa cell line in which the expression of E6/E7 has decreased, we found that it loses the ability to respond to the exogenous IL-2 stimuli. Finally, the importance of IL-2R in CC, as an immune escape mechanism, is discussed. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Leonardo Trujillo-Cirilo, Edgar Ivan Torres-Corioriles, Rosalva Rangel-Corona, Maria Teresa Corona-Ortega, Benny Weiss-Steider. Evidence that the viral oncoproteins E6 and E7 of HPV induce the expression of a functional IL-2R on cervical cancer cells. Cytokine. 2021 Dec;148:155592

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PMID: 34099345

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