Protection of rabbits against cutaneous papillomavirus infection using recombinant tobacco mosaic virus containing L2 capsid epitopes

Kenneth E. Palmer, Ann Benko, Sarah A. Doucette, Terri I. Cameron, Tiffany Foster, Kathleen M. Hanley, Alison A. McCormick, Michael McCulloch, Gregory P. Pogue, Mark L. Smith, Neil Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Cottontail rabbit papillomavirus (CRPV) and rabbit oral papillomavirus (ROPV) represent distantly related, cutaneous and mucosal tissue tropic papillomaviruses respectively that can infect the same host. These two viruses were used to test the effectiveness of an L2 peptide-based vaccine (aa 94-122) that was delivered on the surface of recombinant tobacco mosaic virus (rTMV) particles. Groups of NZW rabbits received combinations of CRPVL2, ROPVL2 and CRPV + ROPVL2 rTMV vaccines, and were then challenged with infectious CRPV and ROPV. The rabbits developed antibodies that reacted to whole L2 protein and these sera were able to neutralize CRPV pseudovirions at half-maximal titers that were between 50 and 500. Rabbits receiving the CRPV L2 vaccine alone or in combination with ROPV L2 vaccines were completely protected against CRPV infections. Those rabbits vaccinated with the ROPV L2 vaccines showed a weak response in some rabbits against CRPV infection. These studies demonstrate that L2-based vaccines provide strong protection against experimental papillomavirus infection that is most likely based upon the induction of virus-neutralizing antibody. Notably, we observed some limited cross-protection induced by the L2 sequences tested in these vaccines. Finally, the study demonstrated that rTMV were excellent agents for the induction of strong protection in a pre-clinical disease model of papillomavirus infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5516-5525
Number of pages10
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 29 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Veterinary
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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