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Background: PVs (PV) are small, non-enveloped, double-stranded DNA viruses that have been identified as the primary etiological agent for cervical cancer and their potential for malignant transformation in mucosal tissue has a large impact on public health. The PV family Papillomaviridae is organized into multiple genus based on sequential parsimony, host range, tissue tropism, and histology. We focused this analysis on the late gene products, major (L1) and minor (L2) capsid proteins from the family Papillomaviridae genus Alpha-papillomavirus. Alpha-PVs preferentially infect oral and anogenital mucosa of humans and primates with varied risk of oncogenic transformation. Development of evolutionary associations between PVs will likely provide novel information to assist in clarifying the currently elusive relationship between PV and its microenvironment (i.e., the single infected cell) and macro environment (i.e., the skin tissue). We attempt to identify the regions of the major capsid proteins as well as minor capsid proteins of alpha-papillomavirus that have been evolutionarily conserved, and define regions that are under constant selective pressure with respect to the entire family of viruses.
Results: This analysis shows the loops of L1 are in fact the most variable regions among the alpha- PVs. We also identify regions of L2, involved in interaction with L1, as evolutionarily conserved among the members of alpha- PVs. Finally, a predicted three-dimensional model was generated to further elucidate probable aspects of the L1 and L2 interaction.