JMM Editor’s Choice: understanding humoral immunity against HPV

Posted on August 7, 2020   by Microbiology Society

The Journal of Medical Microbiology (JMM) is a journal published by the Microbiology Society, focused on providing comprehensive coverage of medical, dental and veterinary microbiology and infectious diseases, including bacteriology, virology, mycology and parasitology. This month, Dr Direk Limmathurotsakul discusses the paper ‘Correlation between cervical HPV DNA detection and HPV16 seroreactivity measured with L1-only and L1+L2 viral capsid antigens’ which was chosen as Editor’s Choice for the July issue of JMM.

The study by Ludwig-McGill and colleagues shows that the ELISA assay based on L1+L2 virus-like particles (VLPs) is more accurate than the ELISA assay based on only L1 VLPs for detection of human papillomavirus 16 (HPV16) DNA. The study also shows that HPV16 seropositivity was correlated with infection with other alpha-9 papillomavirus species. The study was well designed and conducted, and the findings will improve our understanding of immune response and diagnostic test development for HPV infection in the future.

Correlation between cervical HPV DNA detection and HPV16 seroreactivity measured with L1-only and L1+L2 viral capsid antigens

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common sexually transmitted infection which clears spontaneously within one to two years. Although it is well known that a persistent HPV16 infection is the main causal agent of cervical cancer, little is known about naturally acquired protection against it. Studies have shown that only half of women infected with HPV develop detectable HPV antibodies. This study advances our understanding of humoral immune responses against HPV16 by providing insights about the influence of VLP antigen composition on the measurement of the humoral immune response against naturally acquired HPV infection.