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Genet Mol Res. 2015 Dec 11;14(4):16712-27. doi: 10.4238/2015.December.11.19.

Bos taurus papillomavirus activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells: demonstrating a productive infection.

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Laboratório de Genética, Instituto Butantan, São Paulo, SP, Brasil.
Programa de Pós-graduação em Biologia Estrutural e Funcional, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brasil.
Programa de Pós-graduação Interunidades em Biotecnologia, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brasil.
Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciências da Saúde, Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco.


Bovine papillomavirus (BPV) is an oncogenic virus with mucous and epithelial tropism. Possible productive virus infection in other tissues, such as blood, has been hypothesized. In order to investigate this possibility, three samples of skin papillomas and blood were collected from bovines with BPV infection and five samples of peripheral blood and one sample of normal tissue were collected from a calf without BPV infection. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated from whole blood and examined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, immunofluorescence, in situ hybridization, and electron microscopy. The tissue samples were examined for histopathological and immunohistochemical features. The skin papillomas showed the presence of DNA sequences of BPV-2, BPV-11, and a putative virus type. The blood samples showed DNA sequences of BPV-1, 2, and 4 simultaneously. Immunohistochemistry showed BPV L1 protein in both epithelium and stroma and BPV E2 protein in koilocytes. In situ hybridization confirmed the presence of BPV DNA in PBMCs and immunofluorescence showed nuclear labeling of E2 and L1 BPV proteins in PBMCs. The transcription analysis revealed transcripts of BPV-1 L1, BPV-2 L2, and BPV-4 E7 in blood and papilloma samples of BPV-infected cattle. The comet assay revealed high levels of host cell DNA damage upon BPV infection. Electron microscopy analysis of PBMCs identified the presence of particles in the cytoplasm that are consistent with papillomavirus in size and shape. The productive infection of PBMCs with BPV has been previously discussed and this study provides evidence indicating that PBMCs are a target of BPV.

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