Human papillomavirus type 18 E6 and E7 antibodies in human sera: Increased anti-E7 prevalence in cervical cancer patients

C. Bleul, M. Muller, R. Frank, H. Gausepohl, U. Koldovsky, H. N. Mgaya, J. Luande, M. Pawlita, J. Ter Meulen, R. Viscidi, L. Gissmann

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36 Scopus citations


Antibody-reactive regions on the human papillomavirus type 18 (HPV-18) E6 and E7 proteins were identified with rabbit polyclonal anti-fusion protein sera by screening of an fd phage expression library containing subgenomic HPV-18 DNA fragments and by testing of overlapping decapeptides representing the E6 and E7 open reading frames. Peptides comprising the delineated regions (designated E6/1 to E6/4 and E7/1) were synthesized and used in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect anti-HPV-18 antibodies in human sera. A total of 232 human serum samples (identical numbers of cervical cancer patients and age-matched controls) collected in Tanzania were tested. Similar prevalences (between 0.8 and 4.3%) of antibodies recognizing the different E6 peptides were found in the sera from tumor patients and controls. With a synthetic 28-mer peptide (designated pepE701) comprising the E7/1 region, a significant difference was found: 10 of 116 tumor serum samples but 0 of 116 control serum samples showed a specific reaction (P < 0.001). This observation confirms earlier results with HPV-16 E7 fusion proteins (I. Jochmus-Kudielka, A. Schneider, R. Braun, R. Kimmig, U. Koldovsky, K. E. Schneweis, K. Seedorf, and L. Gissmann, J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 81:1698-1704, 1989). A lower prevalence of anti-HPV-18 E7 antibodies was observed when 188 human serum samples collected in Germany from tumor patients and controls were tested (3 of 94 positive in the cancer group; 0 of 94 positive in the control group). The type specificity of anti-HPV-18 E7 antibodies was demonstrated when the HPV type found by Southern hybridization in the cervical cancer biopsies was compared with seroreactivity: 4 of 8 serum samples obtained from HPV-18 DNA-positive but 0 of 16 serum samples from HPV-18 DNA-negative tumor patients reacted in the HPV-18 E7 ELISA. In addition, HPV-18-positive sera failed to react in a peptide ELISA with the homologous HPV-16 E7 region (M. Muller, H. Gausepohl, G. de Martinoff, R. Frank, R. Brasseur, and L. Gissmann, J. Gen. Virol. 71:2709-2717, 1990) and vice versa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1579-1588
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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