Historical cottontail rabbit papillomavirus studies raised early indications of a mammalian DNA oncogenic virus. Today, molecular cloning recognises numerous animal and human papillomaviruses (HPVs) and the development of in vitro transformation assays has escalated oncological research in HPVs. Currently, their detection and typing in tissues is usually by Southern blotting, in-situ hybridization and polymerase chain reaction methods. The complete papillomavirus virion constitutes a protein coat (capsid) surrounding a circular, double-stranded DNA organised into coding and non-coding regions. 8 early (E1-E8) open reading frames (ORFs) and 2 late (L1, L2) ORFs have been identified in the coding region of all papillomaviruses. The early ORFs encode proteins which interact with the host genome to produce new viral DNA while late ORFs are activated only after viral DNA replication and encode for viral capsid proteins. All papillomaviruses are obligatory intranuclear organisms with specific tropism for keratinocytes. Three possible courses of events can follow papillomaviruses entry into cells: (1) viral DNA are maintained as intranuclear, extrachromosomal, circular DNA episomes, which replicates synchronously with the host cell, establishing a latent infection; (2) conversion from latent into productive infection with assembly of complete infective virions; (3) integration of viral DNA into host cellular genome, a phenomenon seen in HPV infections associated with malignant transformation. Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) essentially induce skin and mucosal epithelial lesions. Various skin warts are well known to be HPV-associated (HPVs 1, 2, 3, 7 and 10). Besides HPVs 3 and 10, HPVs 5, 8, 17 and 20 have been recovered from Epidermodysplasia verruciformis lesions. Anogenital condyloma acuminatum, strongly linked with HPVs 6 and 11 are probably sexually transmitted. The same HPVs, demonstrable in recurrent juvenile laryngeal papillomas, are probably transmitted by passage through an infected birth canal. HPVs described in uterine cervical lesions are generally categorized into those associated with high (16, 18), intermediate (31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 68) and low (6, 11, 26, 40, 42, 43, 44, 53, 54, 55, 62, 66) risk of cervical squamous carcinoma. Cervical adenocarcinoma, clear cell carcinoma and small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma have also been linked to HPVs, especially HPV18. Other lesions reported to be HPV-associated are: papillomas, dysplasia and carcinomas in the nasal cavity (HPV 6, 11, 57); squamous papilloma, condyloma acuminatum, and verruca vulgaris of the oral cavity (HPV 6, 11), oral focal epithelial hyperplasia (HPV 13, 32); warty lip lesions (HPV 2): and conjunctival papillomas (HPV 6, 11).
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.