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Aberrant splicing events and epigenetics in viral oncogenomics: Current therapeutic strategies

Francies, F.Z.
Dlamini, Z.
Global cancer incidence and mortality are on the rise. Although cancer is fundamentally a non-communicable disease, a large number of cancers are known to have a viral aetiology. A high burden of infectious agents (Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B virus (HBV)) in certain Sub-Saharan African countries drives the rates of certain cancers. About one-third of all cancers in Africa are attributed to infection. Seven viruses have been identified with carcinogenic characteristics, namely the HPV, HBV, Hepatitis C virus (HCV), Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), Human T cell leukaemia virus 1 (HTLV-1), Kaposi’s Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV), and HIV-1. The cellular splicing machinery is compromised upon infection, and the virus generates splicing variants that promote cell proliferation, suppress signalling pathways, inhibition of tumour suppressors, alter gene expression through epigenetic modification, and mechanisms to evade an immune response, promoting carcinogenesis. A number of these splice variants are specific to virally-induced cancers. Elucidating mechanisms underlying how the virus utilises these splice variants to maintain its latent and lytic phase will provide insights into novel targets for drug discovery. This review will focus on the splicing genomics, epigenetic modifications induced by and current therapeutic strategies against HPV, HBV, HCV, EBV, HTLV-1, KSHV and HIV-1.
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viral oncogenesis,Aberrant splicing,Epigenetic modifications,Non-coding RNAs,Oncoviruses
Francies FZ, Dlamini Z. Aberrant Splicing Events and Epigenetics in Viral Oncogenomics: Current Therapeutic Strategies. Cells. 2021 Jan 26;10(2):239. doi: 10.3390/cells10020239.
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