An investigation into the use of human papillomavirus type 16 virus-like particles as a delivery vector system for foreign proteins: N- and C-terminal fusion of GFP to the L1 and L2 capsid proteins
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Development of vaccine strategies against human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer, is a priority. We investigated the use of virus-like particles (VLPs) of the most prevalent type, HPV-16, as carriers of foreign proteins. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) was fused to the N or C terminus of both L1 and L2, with L2 chimeras being co-expressed with native L1. Purified chimaeric VLPs were comparable in size (∼55 nm) to native HPV VLPs. Conformation-specific monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) bound to the VLPs, thereby indicating that they possibly retain their antigenicity. In addition, all of the VLPs encapsidated DNA in the range of 6–8 kb.
We would like thank to Dr. Neil Christensen for providing the monoclonal antibodies used in this study. This research was funded by the Poliomyelitis Research Foundation of South Africa (grant #04/25) and the University of Cape Town start up grant. AV is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
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