Genital HPV genotypes are generally distinct serotypes, but whether variants within a genotype can represent serologic subtypes is unclear. In this study we used serum from human volunteers vaccinated with HPV16 L1 VLPs from variant 114K, to examine cross-neutralization of variants from each of the five major phylogenetic branches of HPV16. Recombinant Semliki Forest virus-derived pseudovirions for each variant were generated and combined with serum from vaccines, and the mixture was monitored for infectivity in a standard C127 cell focal transformation assay. Sera from all 10 VLP-immunized individuals had neutralizing activity against each of the variant pseudovirions. For each of the sera, variant titers differed by only fourfold or less from the median titer. Therefore, from a vaccine perspective, HPV16 variants belong to a single serotype. Vaccination with HPV16 114K L1 VLPs generates antibodies that should confer a similar degree of protection against all known phylogenetic branches of HPV16.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.