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Virology. 2019 Aug 13;537:14-19. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2019.08.007. [Epub ahead of print]

Single-cell RNA sequencing reveals cell type-specific HPV expression in hyperplastic skin lesions.

Author information

1
The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, The University of Queensland, Woolloongabba, QLD, 4102, Australia.
2
The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, The University of Queensland, Dermatology Research Centre, Woolloongabba, QLD, 4102, Australia; Department of Dermatology, The Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloongabba, QLD, 4102, Australia.
3
The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, The University of Queensland, Woolloongabba, QLD, 4102, Australia. Electronic address: i.frazer@uq.edu.au.
4
Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, 4072, Australia.

Abstract

Human Papillomavirus infection is highly prevalent worldwide. While most types of HPV cause benign warts, some high-risk types are known to cause cervical cancer, as well as cancer of the oral cavity and head and neck. Persistent cutaneous HPV infection can be particularly problematic in patients with chronic immunosuppression, for example following organ transplantation. Due to unknown mechanisms, these patients may develop numerous warts, as well as present with a dramatically increased skin cancer prevalence. Despite an association between HPV persistence in the epidermis and excessive wart or squamous cancer development, the molecular mechanisms linking immunosuppression, HPV expression and excessive epidermal proliferation have not been determined, largely due to low-sensitivity methodology to capture rare viral transcription events. Here, we use single-cell RNA sequencing to profile HPV-positive skin lesions from an immunosuppressed patient that were found to express the alphapapillomavirus HPV78 in basal keratinocytes, suprabasal keratinocytes and hair follicle stem cells. This method can be applied to detect and investigate HPV transcripts in cutaneous lesions, allowing mechanistic links between immunosuppression-induced HPV life cycle and epidermal hyperproliferation to be uncovered.

KEYWORDS:

Epithelial; HPV; Immunosuppression; Single-cell RNA-seq; Transcription

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