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Title: The mode of action of the HIV protease inhibitor lopinavir against HPV
Author: Batman, Gavin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2703 725X
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2011
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Human papillomavirus (HPV) related cervical cancer is still the most common gynaecological malignancy in developing countries and, as yet, there is no alternative to surgery for the treatment of HPV-associated pre-malignant lesions. HPV 'hijacks' the host-cell ubiquitin-proteasome system to degrade the p53 and Rb tumour suppressor proteins which in turn, leads to the development of cancer. Previous studies have shown that the HIV protease inhibitor lopinavir selectively inhibits the chymotryptic-like activity of the 26S proteasome which stabilises p53 and induces the apoptosis of HPV positive cervical carcinoma cells. Based on this it was hypothesised that lopinavir treatment of HPV positive cervical carcinoma cells would produce changes in the levels of a wide range of cellular proteins that are dis-regulated by HPV-related activation of the proteasome. In order to address this, antibody microarray screening was carried out on lopinavir treated and control untreated HPV positive SiHa cervical carcinoma cells. This showed lopinavir induced alterations in 51 proteins including the cellular antiviral defence protein RNase L. Lopinavir induced both a dose and time dependent increase in RNase L which was subsequently confirmed by western blotting. Transient siRNA silencing of RNase L expression reduced the lopinavir-dependent toxicity in SiHa cells, suggesting an important role for this protein in the toxicity of lopinavir in HPV infected cells. SiHa cells were much more sensitive to lopinavir than CaSKi cervical carcinoma cells which had much higher levels of the E6 protein and did not up regulate RNase L. Furthermore, lopinavir treated HPV16 E6/E7 immortalised keratinocytes were also shown to up regulate RNase L protein expression and these cells were much more sensitive to lopinavir induced apoptosis than mortal control keratinocytes. In addition, transient expression of RNase L in RNase L-deficient C33A cells and the same cells stably transfected with HPV16 E6 (C33AE6) demonstrated that E6 protected these cells from RNaseL-induced cell death. Surprisingly, analysis of RNase L protein levels in these cells demonstrated that E6 did not induce the degradation of the RNase L protein. Instead it was found that E6 stabilised the interaction between RNase L and its endogenous inhibitor protein, ABCE1, and that lopinavir de-stabilised this interaction. Given that C33A tumour cells, E6/E7 immortalised keratinocytes and hTert immortalised keratinocytes are all sensitive to lopinavir, this implies that this compound does not specifically target HPV immortalised cells but rather targets immortalised cells in general, regardless of how this was achieved. The optimum concentration of lopinavir for all these effects was 25 μM, which is 15-fold higher than is observed in cervico-vaginal secretions following oral dosing with the drug Kaletra. In conclusion these results have confirmed the potential of lopinavir to treat HPV related pre-cancerous cervical lesions and provided at least part of the mode-of-action. Indeed they strongly support the use of lopinavir as a low-cost, self-applied topical alternative to surgery for this disease which will be of particular benefit in low-resource countries. Finally, the ability of lopinavir to induce apoptosis of non-HPV related immortalised cells merits further investigation since this indicates this drug may be useful for the treatment of other non HPV related pre-malignant conditions.
Supervisor: Hampson, Lynne ; Hampson, Ian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HPV ; Lopinavir ; Cervical Cancer ; RNase L ; Antiviral