The role of ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like modification systems in papillomavirus biology.
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Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are small DNA viruses that are important etiological agents of a spectrum of human skin lesions from benign to malignant. Because of their limited genome coding capacity they express only a small number of proteins, only one of which has enzymatic activity. Additionally, the HPV productive life cycle is intimately tied to the epithelial differentiation program and they must replicate in what are normally non-replicative cells, thus, these viruses must reprogram the cellular environment to achieve viral reproduction. Because of these limitations and needs, the viral proteins have evolved to co-opt cellular processes primarily through protein-protein interactions with critical host proteins. The ubiquitin post-translational modification system and the related ubiquitin-like modifiers constitute a widespread cellular regulatory network that controls the levels and functions of thousands of proteins, making these systems an attractive target for viral manipulation. This review describes the interactions between HPVs and the ubiquitin family of modifiers, both to regulate the viral proteins themselves and to remodel the host cell to facilitate viral survival and reproduction.
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