The study of the human papillomavirus (HPV) life cycle was hampered for more than 50 years by the lack of a conventional cell culture system for propagating HPV. Considerable progress has been made in the production of several HPV types using either organotypic rafts or human epithelial xenografts in immunocompromised mice. In this study, we demonstrated episomal maintenance of HPV-11 DNA in N-Tert cells. HPV-11 episomal DNA containing cell populations grown in raft culture showed induction of the productive viral life cycle. HPV-11 DNA amplification and viral capsid antigen synthesis were detected in differentiated layers of epithelia. The viruses generated were able to infect keratinocytes in vitro, which indicate that viruses generated were infectious. The demonstration of the productive HPV-11 life cycle in raft culture from cloned HPV-11 DNA will facilitate genetic analyses of viral gene functions that was not possible using the human xenograft athymic mouse model.
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