Genetic diversity in the major capsid L1 protein of HPV-16 and HPV-18 in the Netherlands

Medical Microbiological Laboratories and Municipal Health Services

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review

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OBJECTIVES: Intratypic molecular variants of human papillomavirus (HPV) type-16 and -18 exist. In the Netherlands, a bivalent vaccine, composed of recombinant L1 proteins from HPV-16 and -18, is used to prevent cervical cancer since 2009. Long-term vaccination could lead to changes in HPV-16 and -18 virus population, thereby hampering vaccination strategies. We determined the genetic diversity of the L1 gene in HPV-16 and -18 viral strains circulating in the Netherlands at the start of vaccination in order to understand the baseline genetic diversity in the Dutch population.

METHODS: DNA sequences of the L1 gene were determined in HPV-16 (n = 241) and HPV-18 (n = 108) positive anogenital samples collected in 2009 and 2011 among Dutch 16- to 24-year old female and male attendees of the sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinics. Phylogenetic analysis was performed and sequences were compared to reference sequences HPV-16 (AF536179) and HPV-18 (X05015) using BioNumerics 7.1.

RESULTS: For HPV-16, ninety-five single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) were identified, twenty-seven (28%) were non-synonymous variations. For HPV-18, seventy-one SNPs were identified, twenty-nine (41%) were non-synonymous. The majority of the non-silent variations were located in sequences encoding alpha helix, beta sheet or surface loops, in particular in the immunodominant FG loop, and may influence the protein secondary structure and immune recognition.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides unique pre-vaccination/baseline data on the genetic L1 diversity of HPV-16 and -18 viruses circulating in the Netherlands among adolescents and young adults.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0152782
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Capsid/virology
  • Capsid Proteins/genetics
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation/genetics
  • Human papillomavirus 16/genetics
  • Human papillomavirus 18/genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Oncogene Proteins, Viral/genetics
  • Papillomavirus Infections/virology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/virology
  • Vaccination/methods
  • Young Adult


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