Scientists Identify Receptor for Papillomavirus

May 1, 1997

Researchers at the University of Queensland, Australia, have identified the receptor on human skin and mucosal cells that they believe allows papillomaviruses to attach to and infect those cells.

Researchers at the University of Queensland, Australia, have identifiedthe receptor on human skin and mucosal cells that they believe allows papillomavirusesto attach to and infect those cells.

Human papillomaviruses are responsible for a variety of warts in humans,including skin, foot, laryngopharyngeal, and some types of genital warts.They are also considered to be a major risk factor for the developmentof certain types of cancer.

In the study, reported in the March issue of the Journal of Virology,researchers investigated the interaction of papillomavirus-like particles(VLPs) with two epithelial cell lines. Using a number of different assays,they found that alpha-6-integrin can interact with VLPs, suggesting thatit may function as a cellular receptor for papillomaviruses.

Papillomavirus infects only skin and mucosal surfaces, and this restrictionis thought to be mediated by interactions of the virus with host cell factors.In general, the first step in infection with a crystalline virus is attachmentof the virus to a specific receptor on the surface of the susceptible hostcell. Until now, the receptor for papillomavirus had yet to be found.

"Identification of a receptor for PV [papillomavirus] particlesshould lead to identification of residues on the PV particle that are criticalfor PV binding and uptake and may allow a rational approach to design ofdrugs to inhibit the process of PV infection," say the researchers.