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PLoS Pathog. 2012;8(4):e1002657. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002657. Epub 2012 Apr 19.

Entry of human papillomavirus type 16 by actin-dependent, clathrin- and lipid raft-independent endocytosis.

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Emmy-Noether Group 'Virus Endocytosis', Institutes of Molecular Virology and Medical Biochemistry, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.


Infectious endocytosis of incoming human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16), the main etiological agent of cervical cancer, is poorly characterized in terms of cellular requirements and pathways. Conflicting reports attribute HPV-16 entry to clathrin-dependent and -independent mechanisms. To comprehensively describe the cell biological features of HPV-16 entry into human epithelial cells, we compared HPV-16 pseudovirion (PsV) infection in the context of cell perturbations (drug inhibition, siRNA silencing, overexpression of dominant mutants) to five other viruses (influenza A virus, Semliki Forest virus, simian virus 40, vesicular stomatitis virus, and vaccinia virus) with defined endocytic requirements. Our analysis included infection data, i.e. GFP expression after plasmid delivery by HPV-16 PsV, and endocytosis assays in combination with electron, immunofluorescence, and video microscopy. The results indicated that HPV-16 entry into HeLa and HaCaT cells was clathrin-, caveolin-, cholesterol- and dynamin-independent. The virus made use of a potentially novel ligand-induced endocytic pathway related to macropinocytosis. This pathway was distinct from classical macropinocytosis in regards to vesicle size, cholesterol-sensitivity, and GTPase requirements, but similar in respect to the need for tyrosine kinase signaling, actin dynamics, Na⁺/H⁺ exchangers, PAK-1 and PKC. After internalization the virus was transported to late endosomes and/or endolysosomes, and activated through exposure to low pH.

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