Scientific reports 2018 02 228(1) 3476 doi 10.1038/s41598-018-21416-8
Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in women worldwide. Persistent infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types is the main risk factor for the development of cervical cancer precursor lesions. HPV persistence and tumor development is usually characterized by innate immune system evasion. Alterations in Toll-like receptors (TLR) expression and activation may be important for the control of HPV infections and could play a role in the progression of lesions and tumors. In the present study, we analyzed the mRNA expression of 84 genes involved in TLR signaling pathways. We observed that 80% of the differentially expressed genes were downregulated in cervical cancer cell lines relative to normal keratinocytes. Major alterations were detected in genes coding for several proteins of the TLR signaling axis, including TLR adaptor molecules and genes associated with MAPK pathway, NFκB activation and antiviral immune response. In particular, we observed major alterations in the HMGB1-TLR4 signaling axis. Functional analysis also showed that HMGB1 expression is important for the proliferative and tumorigenic potential of cervical cancer cell lines. Taken together, these data indicate that alterations in TLR signaling pathways may play a role in the oncogenic potential of cells expressing HPV oncogenes.