Anti-retroviral protease inhibitors regulate human papillomavirus 16 infection of primary oral and cervical epithelium

Samina Alam, Sreejata Chatterjee, Sa Do Kang, Janice Milici, Jennifer Biryukov, Han Chen, Craig Meyers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Epidemiology studies suggest that Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-infected patients on highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) may be at increased risk of acquiring opportunistic Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infections and developing oral and cervical cancers. Effective HAART usage has improved survival but increased the risk for HPV-associated cancers. In this manuscript, we report that Protease Inhibitors (PI) treatment of three-dimensional tissues derived from primary human gingiva and cervical epithelial cells compromised cell-cell junctions within stratified epithelium and enhanced paracellular permeability of HPV16 to the basal layer for infection, culminating in de novo biosynthesis of progeny HPV16 as determined using 5-Bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) labeling of newly synthesized genomes. We propose that HAART/PI represent a novel class of co-factors that modulate HPV infection of the target epithelium. Our in vitro tissue culture model is an important tool to study the mechanistic role of anti-retroviral drugs in promoting HPV infections in HAART-naïve primary epithelium. Changes in subsequent viral load could promote new infections, create HPV reservoirs that increase virus persistence, and increase the risk of oral and cervical cancer development in HIV-positive patients undergoing long-term HAART treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2664
Pages (from-to)1-34
Number of pages34
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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