Human papillomavirus tropism determinants of viral tissue specificity
Sammanfattning: Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women worldwide and human papillomavirus (HPV) is a prerequisit for the development of this cancer. HPV belongs to the Papillomaviridae family and infects the basal layer of epithelial cells where it generally progresses into warts or condylomas. HPV can only reproduce in differentiating epithelia and it is therefore difficult to study the natural infection of HPV. More than 100 HPV types exist and they are divided into different genera based on their L1 open reading frame sequence. Most of the HPV types in the alpha-papillomavirus genus infect the mucosal epithelium while HPVs from the beta-papillomavirus genus usually infect cutaneous epithelial cells. Presently, it is not known what decides the anatomical tropism and our aim was to study determinants of this tropism.By using HPV virus like particles (VLP) and pseudovirus we found that VLPs from the two alpha-papillomaviruses HPV-6 and HPV-16 interacted with cell-surface heparan sulfate (HS) for initial attachment. When we labelled HPV VLPs with a fluorescent dye to study internalization HPV-6 was more strongly inhibited than HPV-16. Furthermore, a pseudovirus infection assay demonstrated that the beta-papillomavirus HPV-5 was less dependent on HS for infection than HPV-16. By analyzing the isoelectric point (p1) of the HPV L1 capsid protein we found that alpha HPV types were more positively charged than beta HPV types. Also, HPV-6 had a higher positive charge than HPV-16. Thus, the inhibition of the negatively charged heparin against HPV infection was clearly related to the charge of the HPV L1 capsid. This suggested that the initial interaction could be one of the determinants of tropism although not the sole factor.Lactoferrin is a protein found in milk, saliva, semen, tear fluid and endocervical secretions that has antiviral activities. Both human and bovine lactoferrin inhibited HPV infection but we found no significant differences in inhibition of alpha- and beta-papillomavirus infection. We could however demonstrate that different lactoferricins, small peptide derivates from the N-terminal part of lactoferrin, were able to inhibit HPV infection. This antiviral activity depended on lactoferricin peptide, HPV type and cell origin.The regulation of HPV gene expression in the host cell could also determine HPV tropism. The HPV long control region (LCR) contains cis-responsive elements that regulate HPV transcription and the epithelial tropism of HPV is determined by epithelial specific constitutive enhancers in the LCR. It has been hypothesized that the combination of transcription factors in the host cell determines the cell-type-specific expression. In cells with a skin origin the HPV-5 LCR was twice as efficient in transcriptional activation compared to HPV-16 LCR, while in cervical cells the HPV-16 LCR was almost twice as effective in activating transcription compared to HPV-5 LCR.To conclude, alpha- and beta-papillomaviruses differed regarding their ability to infect cells and regulate viral gene expression. These abilities corresponded with their natural host cells and suggested that HPV anatomical tropism could be determined at several steps in the HPV life cycle.
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