How papillomaviruses infect cells

We are presently hosting the 2017 Human Papillomaviirus Conference here in Cape Town, and we are experimenting with having a pre-conference Basic Science Workshop, in addition to the well-established Public Health and Clinical streams.

And it’s going…really well! We have a huge room for it, with double screens; it’s pretty full – and the kick-off was a masterful talk on HPV Entry by Michelle Ozbun.

She had a wonderfully illustrated close to 90 minute talk, with some very intriguing speculations: the theme of the Workshop is “Where Are The Gaps?”, and she pointed out a number of important gaps in our knowledge of the processes that  PVs engage with in order to get into cells.

One of the most intriguing was the fact that pseudo- or quasivirions made in and puriffied from mammalian cells, are not very infectious at all in keratinocyte raft cultures – which Martin Sapp pointed out from the audience can be hugely improved by using virions associated with cell matrix material rather than purified forms.

Michelle speculated that the natural state for PVs infecting susceptible cells – which most often probably occurs via transient wounding of cornified epithelia or mucous membranes – is in the context of squames, or exfoliated and disintegrating cells. Which means virions are associated with all of the molecules present in such a milieu, that may also serve as receptors – meaning that the virions may in fact be primed in terms of conformational changes associated with receptor binding, which could greatly facilitate binding of basal layer cells and entry into them.

How sensible is that as a concept: the natural milieu for PVs to infect other cells is in the context of debris from the cells in which they were produced.

I’m learning things by the minute B-) Michelle had a very useful set of questions (see below).

Other gaps for discussion will be posted later. #HPV2017

3 Responses to “How papillomaviruses infect cells”

  1. Chris Jennings Says:

    Hi Ed,

    Sorry to write here but I can’t find any other way to communicated with you.

    Small, insubstantial item that it is, I am writing to disassociate myself from the House of Numbers as cited by the Timothy Julian who mentioned my book HIV/AIDS IN SOUTH AFRICA “in the same breath” as House of Numbers on your blog site on 10 May, 2015 at 22:48

    He posted a reply on your blog post: “The origin of HIV: still so much garbage out there.”

    My book, HIV/AIDS IN SOUTH AFRICA won the Will Solimene Award for Excellence in Medical Communication from the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA),

    My prior book, UNDERSTANDING AND PREVENTING AIDS, was used in the 1980s for staff education at the Massachusetts General Hospital (the hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School), the Walter Reed Army Medical Institute (responsible for the health of the President of the US), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    But I do disagree with the likelihood of an African origin of HIV because all you virologists are too incestuous and unaware of the vast amount of epidemiological data which does not support such a theory. The likely migration of diseases from the heart of Africa to the Western world simply flies in the face of the prevailing epidemiological winds.

    Also, too much credence if given to the small number genetic sequences derived highly degraded archival samples that undero extraordinary manipulation post-extraction that the foundation for this theory. Finally, due to essentially extant sociological belief structures, all research is focused on primates rather than the myriad of other species across the world who also host lentiviruses, some pathogenic and sharing growth properties with HIV, but have not been investigated to the extent of HIV.

    And an added annoyance, the term “simian immunodeficiency virus” is entirely in appropriate (at least as of 2012) in that none of the SIVs cause immunodeficiency in their native hosts. But we all know the way to get funding is to work on an immunodeficiency virus. That is the way the game is played.

    I’m sure you remember the 1970s wherein everyone was working on “oncogenic” and “proliferative” viruses, no?

    So, just a quick off-the-cuff commentary.. No need to post this, but if you could if you could post my comment regarding my desire to disassociate myself from the House of Numbers in response to Tim Julian’s posting, I would appreciate it.

    Thank you.

    • Ed Rybicki Says:

      Hi Chris:

      Interesting comments! I agree about the nomenclature; just because HIV causes immunosuppression doesn’t mean its relatives do in their natural hosts. The rest – well, I’d be interested in reading up on some of the epidemiology.

    • Ed Rybicki Says:

      PS: Google “Ed Rybicki” and “email” B-)

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