Oncogenic human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are difficult to study experimentally as they replicate at low levels in vivo. This has precluded the purification of high-risk HPV virions from in vivo lesions. Virus-like particles (VLPs) and pseudovirions from low- and high-risk HPV types can emulate various aspects of HPV virion attachment and infections. These studies suggest that HPV infection is mediated by α6-integrin and/or heparan-sulfonated receptors. However, whether VLPs and pseudovirions accurately reflect the infection process of HPV virions has not been verified. We generated infectious HPV31b virions from organotypic (raft) tissues and performed experimental infections in a variety of cells. Successful infection following viral attachment, internalization, and nuclear transport was assayed by detecting newly synthesized, spliced HPV transcripts using reverse transcription (RT)-PCR or RT-quantitative PCR. Most human epithelial cells were infected with HPV31b at a multiplicity of infection as low as 1 to 10 viral genome equivalents per cell. HPV31b infection was detected in other cell lines, including COS-7 monkey kidney cells, but higher viral multiplicities of infection were required. Heparin preparations of various molecular weights or heparinase I treatment of cells prevented HPV31b infection of COS-7 cells and C-33A human cervical cancer cells in reproducible and dose-dependent manners. However, these reagents were unable to block infection of human keratinocytes, including HaCaT and N/TERT-1 cells and low-passage human foreskin keratinocytes. These data suggest that HPV31b infection of human keratinocytes, the natural host cell for HPV infections in vivo, does not require a heparan-sulfonated receptor, whereas heparan sulfate is important for infection of some other cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science