Analysis of mutations in the E6 oncogene of human papillomavirus 16 in cervical cancer isolates from Moroccan women
We examined intratype human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) sequence variation in tumor samples that were collected and analyzed in an international study of invasive cervical cancer. The collection included tumors from 22 countries in five continents. Using our recently developed E6 and L1 PCR-based hybridization systems to distinguish HPV-16 variant lineages, we analyzed material from tumors previously found to contain HPV-16 DNA. Of 408 specimens analyzed in the E6 hybridization assay, 376 (92.2%) belonged to previously reported HPV-16 variant lineages. The remaining 32 specimens (7.8%) harbored HPV-16 variants with novel hybridization patterns, novel nucleotide changes, or both. Nucleotide sequences (1,203 bp) were determined for the E6, the MY09/11 region of L1, and the long control region of each novel variant and representative specimens from each hybridization pattern observed. Based on E6 hybridization patterns, most of the variants from European and North American samples were phylogenetically classified as European prototype (E) while samples from Africa contained primarily African 1 (Af1) or African 2 (Af2) variants. The majority of Asian (As) variants were observed in Southeast Asia, and almost all Asian American (AA) variants were from Central and South America or Spain. A single North American 1 (NA1) variant was detected in a tumor from Argentina. Nucleotide changes previously shown to covary between the MY09/11 region of L1 and the E6 coding region were examined in a subset of 249 specimens. We observed 22 combined E6-L1 hybridization patterns, of which 11 (in 21 samples) were novel. No unanticipated nucleotide covariation was observed between the E class and the AA-Af1-Af2-NA1 classes, suggesting the absence or rarity of genomic recombination between HPV-16 lineages. This extensive description of HPV-16 variants forms a basis for further examining the relationship between intratype variation and basic functional differences in biological activities. HPV-16 variants may prove important for the determination of the risk of cervical neoplasia and for the design of HPV-16 vaccine strategies.