Archives of Virology

, Volume 151, Issue 11, pp 2133–2148 | Cite as

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

  • Y.-F. Xu
  • Y.-Q. Zhang
  • X.-M. Xu
  • G.-X. Song


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.





virus-like particles


chimeric virus-like particles


human papillomavirus


dendritic cells


Langerhans cells




tumor necrosis factor




cytotoxic T lymphocytes


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y.-F. Xu
    • 1
  • Y.-Q. Zhang
    • 2
  • X.-M. Xu
    • 1
  • G.-X. Song
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biophysics and Structural Biology Institute of Basic Medical SciencesChinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical CollegeBeijingP.R. China
  2. 2.Department of Physical EducationZhejiang Water Conservancy and Hydropower CollegeHangzhouP.R. China

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