Superinfection exclusion is a common phenomenon whereby a single cell is unable to be infected by two types of the same pathogen. Superinfection exclusion has been described for various viruses, including vaccinia virus, measles virus, hepatitis C virus, influenza A virus, and human immunodeficiency virus. Additionally, the mechanism of exclusion has been observed at various steps of the viral life cycle, including attachment, entry, viral genomic replication, transcription, and exocytosis. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the causative agent of cervical cancer. Recent epidemiological studies indicate that up to 50% women who are HPV positive (HPV + ) are infected with more than one HPV type. However, no mechanism of superinfection exclusion has ever been identified for HPV. Here, we show that superinfection exclusion exists during a HPV coinfection and that it occurs on the cell surface during the attachment/entry phase of the viral life cycle. Additionally, we are able to show that the minor capsid protein L2 plays a role in this exclusion. This study shows, for the first time, that superinfection exclusion occurs during HPV coinfections and describes a potential molecular mechanism through which it occurs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science