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HPV Havoc

Human papillomavirus promotes genomic damage by inserting near host genes involved in cancer.

Tracy Vence

INVADERS: Human papillomavirus particles (shown in this artist’s rendering) can integrate into the human genome and cause chromosomal instability. © DAVID MACK/SCIENCE SOURCE

EDITOR'S CHOICE IN GENETICS & GENOMICS

The paper
K. Akagi et al., “Genome-wide analysis of HPV integration in human cancers reveals recurrent, focal genomic instability,” Genome Research, doi:10.1101/gr.164806.113, 2013.

The finding
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is known to promote mutations in its host’s DNA, though exactly how the virus contributes to genomic instability has been unclear. Researchers led by Maura Gillison of Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center now show in human cancer cell lines and tumors that the sites where HPV integrates into the host genome are linked with genetic damage that may disrupt tumor suppressors and oncogenes.

The extent
“We [found] tremendous host genomic rearrangements happening immediately adjacent to the sites of the viral integration,” including deletions, amplifications, inversions, and even a case of chromosomal...

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