Human Papillomaviruses: From Infectious Virus Entry to Malignancy

Human Papillomaviruses (HPVs) cause 5% of all human cancers, of which cervical cancer is by far the most prevalent. Although there are now very effective vaccines against the most common cancer-causing HPV types, much still remains to be learnt about how these viruses infect cells and how this can then ultimately result in the development of a malignancy. There are over 150 different types of HPV, but the vast majority cause benign disease. Only a small subset, the so-called high-risk HPV types, cause cancer. In this presentation we shall discuss the initial steps that take place when the incoming virus encounters the host cell. We shall discuss the novel activities of the virus coat proteins that ensure survival of the viral genome within the infected cell and its ultimate establishment within the nucleus. Focusing our attention on the cancer-causing HPV types, we shall then discuss the molecular basis of how these viruses cause cancer, and explore how this information can be used for the development of novel therapeutics.