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Genomic characterization of the first insectivoran papillomavirus reveals an unusually long, second non-coding region and indicates a close relationship to Betapapillomavirus.

Schulz E., Gottschling M., Bravo I.G., Wittstatt U., Stockfleth E., Nindl I.

Knowledge about biological diversity is the prerequisite to reliably reconstruct the evolution of pathogens such as papillomaviruses (PV). However, complete genomes of non-human PV have only been cloned and sequenced from 8 out of 18 orders within the Placentalia, although the host-specific variety of PV is considered much larger. We isolated and sequenced the complete genome of the first insectivoran PV type from hair follicle cells of the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), designated EHPV. We conducted phylogenetic analyses (maximum-likelihood criterion and Bayesian inference) with the genomic information of a systematically representative set of 67 PV types including EHPV. As inferred from amino acid sequence data of the separate genes E1, E2 and L1 as well as of the gene combination E6-E7-E1-E2-L1, EHPV clustered within the beta-gamma-pi-Xi-PV supertaxon and constituted the closest relative of genus Betapapillomavirus infecting primates. Beside the typical organization of the PV genome, EHPV exhibited a 1172 bp, non-coding region between the E2 and the L2 open reading frames. This trait has been previously described for the only distantly related Lambdapapillomavirus, but a common evolutionary origin of both non-coding regions is unlikely. Our results underscore the modular organization of the PV genome and the complex natural history of PV.

J. Gen. Virol. 90:626-633(2009) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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