Virologica Sinica

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 92–100 | Cite as

Model systems to study the life cycle of human papillomaviruses and HPV-associated cancers

  • Louise T. Chow


The prevalent human papillomaviruses (HPVs) infect either cutaneous or mucosal epithelium. Active Infections lead to epithelial hyperprolifeation and are usually cleared in healthy individuals within a year. Persistent infections in the anogenital tracts by certain high-risk genotypes such as HPV-16, HPV-18 and closely related types, can progress to high grade dysplasias and carcinomas in women and men, including cervical, vulva, penile and anal cancers. A significant fraction of the head and neck cancers are also caused by HPV-16. The viral oncogenes responsible for neoplastic conversion are E6 and E7 that disrupt the pathways controlled by the two major tumor suppressor genes, p53 and members of pRB family. Because HPV cannot be propagated in conventional submerged monolayer cell cultures, organotypic epithelial raft cultures that generate a stratified and differentiated epithelium have been used to study the viral life cycle. This article describes several systems to examine aspects of the viral productive phase, along with the advantages and limitations. Animal model systems of HPV carcinogenesis are also briefly described.


human papillomaviruses (HPVs) productive program HPV-associated cancers model systems 


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© Wuhan Institute of Virology, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular GeneticsUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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