Rhesus papillomavirus (RhPV) type 1 was recently shown to cooperate with the activated ras oncogene to transform primary rodent epithelial cells at a level comparable to HPV 16. In similar cotransfection studies, subgenomic portions of RhPV 1 driven by either their natural or a strong heterologous promoter were used in primary baby rat kidney cells to demonstrate that transforming properties of RhPV 1 could be localized individually to the E5, E6, and E7 open reading frames. Fully transformed cells were observed when either E5 or E7 were downstream of a strong heterologous promoter. Similarly, either E6 or E6 and E7 downstream of the native promoter fully transformed these cells as determined by immortalization, anchorage independent growth and tumorigenicity studies.
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