The anti-papillomavirus activity of human and bovine lactoferricin

Antiviral Res. 2007 Sep;75(3):258-65. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2007.03.012. Epub 2007 Apr 20.


Human papillomavirus (HPV) cause common warts, laryngeal papilloma and genital condylomata and is necessary for the development of cervical cancer. We have previously found that lactoferrin has antiviral activity against HPV-16 and others have demonstrated that lactoferricin, an N-terminal fragment of lactoferrin, has inhibitory activities against several viruses. Two cell lines and two virus types, HPV-5 and HPV-16, were used to study if lactoferrin and lactoferricin could inhibit HPV pseudovirus (PsV) infection. We demonstrated that bovine lactoferrin (bLf) and human lactoferrin (hLf) were both potent inhibitors of HPV-5 and -16 PsV infections. Among the four lactoferricin derivatives we analyzed, a 15 amino acid peptide from bovine lactoferricin (bLfcin) 17-31 was the most potent inhibitor of both HPV-5 and HPV-16 PsV infection. Among the other derivatives, the human lactoferricin (hLfcin) 1-49 showed some antiviral activity against HPV PsV infection while bLfcin 17-42 inhibited only HPV-5 PsV infection in one of the cell lines. When we studied initial attachment of HPV-16, only bLfcin 17-42 and hLfcin 1-49 had an antiviral effect. This is the first time that lactoferricin was demonstrated to have an inhibitory effect on HPV infection and the antiviral activity differed depending on size, charge and structures of the lactoferricin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / metabolism
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Betapapillomavirus / drug effects*
  • Betapapillomavirus / metabolism
  • Betapapillomavirus / physiology
  • Cattle
  • Cell Line
  • Human papillomavirus 16 / drug effects*
  • Human papillomavirus 16 / metabolism
  • Human papillomavirus 16 / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lactoferrin / metabolism
  • Lactoferrin / pharmacology*
  • Peptides / pharmacology
  • Virus Internalization / drug effects


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Peptides
  • lactoferricin B
  • Lactoferrin