, Volume 151, Issue 11, pp 2133-2148

Papillomavirus virus-like particles as vehicles for the delivery of epitopes or genes

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Summary.

Papillomaviruses (PVs) are simple double-strand DNA viruses whose virion shells are T = 7 icosahedrons and composed of major capsid protein L1 and minor capsid protein L2.L1 alone or together with L2 can self-assemble into virus-like particles (VLPs) when expressed in eukaryotic or prokaryotic expression systems. Although the VLPs lack the virus genome DNA, their morphological and immunological characteristics are very similar to those of nature papillomaviruses. PV VLP vaccination can induce high titers of neutralizing antibodies and can effectively protect animals or humans from PV infection. Moreover, PV VLPs have been good candidates for vehicles to deliver epitopes or genes to target cells. They are widely used in the fields of vaccine development, neutralizing antibody detection, basic virologic research on papillomaviruses, and human papillomavirus (HPV) screening. Besides the structural biology and immunological basis for PV VLPs used as vehicles to deliver epitopes or genes, this review details the latest findings on chimeric papillomavirus VLPs and papillomavirus pseudoviruses, which are two important forms of PV VLPs used to transfer epitopes or genes.