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.