Virology, Nebraska Center for


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Published in Journal of Medical Virology 83:7 (2011), pp. 1230–1237


Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc. Used by permission.


Human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 is the most prevalent high-risk viral genotype associated with cervical cancer. Six distinct phylogenetic clusters of HPVs have been identified and are distributed differently across five continents. HPV16 DNA was extracted from cervico-lavage samples from women with normal pap smears. The LCR regions were amplified in triplicate, cloned, sequenced, and analyzed from a total of 11 recovered HPV16 positive samples [Ng’andwe et al. (2007): BMC Infect Dis 7:77] were analyzed for sequence variation. The HPV16 LCR variants were assessed for promoter activity by use of a luciferase reporter gene. Six novel HPV16 variants with nucleotide exchanges in the LCR region were identified. Five clones were classified as European group HPV16 variants and one as an African group variant. Two of these variants had relatively lower promoter activity, 30% of that of the wildtype strain. The decreased promoter activity of some HPV16 variants may decrease expression of viral oncogenes and may be linked with the development, phenotype and severity of the cervical lesions in women infected with these across HPV16 variants.