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J Med Microbiol. 2007 Jul;56(Pt 7):907-13.

Type-specific and cross-reactive antibodies induced by human papillomavirus 31 L1/L2 virus-like particles.

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Department of Biophysics and Structural Biology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, PR China.

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  • J Med Microbiol. 2007 Sep;56(Pt 9):1262.


The aim of this study was to determine whether antibodies induced by human papillomavirus (HPV) type 31 L1/L2 virus-like particles (VLPs) could cross-react with VLPs of the closely related HPV-16 and distantly related HPV-11, and to investigate the potential role of the L2 protein in L1/L2 VLPs in inducing cross-neutralizing antibodies. Antisera were prepared from rabbits immunized with intact or denatured HPV-31 L1/L2 VLPs. Cross-reaction and cross-neutralization were analysed by Western blotting and ELISA, and by haemagglutination inhibition, respectively. Western blotting results showed that H31 L1/L2 (D) antiserum (antiserum from a rabbit immunized with denatured HPV-31 L1/L2 VLPs) could cross-react with the L1 protein of HPV-11 and -16. HPV-31 L1/L2 VLP antiserum showed strong cross-reaction with and cross-neutralization of HPV-16 VLPs, but this was significantly less with HPV-11 VLPs. In addition, the cross-neutralizing activity against HPV-16 L1/L2 VLPs was slightly higher than that against HPV-16 L1 VLPs, although the difference was not statistically significant. Epitope-blocking ELISA showed that mAb H16.V5 could partially inhibit the cross-reaction of HPV-31 L1/L2 VLP antiserum with HPV-16 L1/L2 VLPs. These results suggested that (i) H31 L1/L2 (D) antiserum could cross-react with L1 protein from both closely related and distantly related HPV types, but HPV-31 L1/L2 VLP antiserum could only cross-neutralize closely related HPV types, (ii) surface-exposed epitopes of the L2 protein in L1/L2 VLPs may induce only low titres of cross-neutralizing antibodies and (iii) certain epitopes that cross-reacted with HPV-31 L1/L2 VLP antiserum are located close to the epitopes recognized by mAb H16.V5. These findings may provide suggestions for the design of multivalent VLP vaccines.

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