Genomic diversity of human papillomaviruses (HPV) and clinical implications: an overview in adulthood and childhood.
In order to get some insight into modifications of human papillomavirus (HPV) genomes which could play a role in tumor progression in epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EV), we studied three EV patients infected by HPV5 and one by HPV8, with cancers containing mostly or only episomal viral genomes with a deletion. The mutants were compared with the full-length genomes present in the benign lesions of each patient. Deletions affected the L1 and/or L2 open reading frames (ORFs), and extended in the 5' end of the long control region in two cancers. The isolates studied showed a polymorphism of restriction endonuclease cleavage sites and variations in the nucleotide sequence of the E6 ORF and the regions flanking the deletions. However, except for one patient infected by two distinct HPV5 variants, no difference was observed in the nucleotide sequence of isolates cloned from the benign lesions and the cancer of the same patient. This may suggest that point mutations are not involved in tumor progression. Comparison of nucleotide sequence data revealed an unexpectedly high number of nucleotide substitutions among the four HPV5 variants and the HPV8 variant, as compared with HPV5 and HPV8 published sequences. Changes involved 49 of the 457 nucleotides of HPV5 E6 ORF and 14 of the 465 nucleotides of HPV8 E6 ORF. This corresponds to amino acid substitutions affecting 17 of the 157 amino acids of HPV5 E6 proteins and 7 of the 155 amino acids of HPV8 E6 proteins. Half of the substitutions represent nonconservative changes. The variants showing the highest degree of sequence variation were detected in additional EV patients by PCR. This points to the existence of a set of HPV5 and HPV8 stable variants, encoding for multiple allelic forms of the transforming E6 gene.