Oral immunization with different assembly forms of the HPV 16 major capsid protein L1 induces neutralizing antibodies and cytotoxic T-lymphocytes

Virology. 2007 Dec 20;369(2):375-88. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2007.08.004. Epub 2007 Sep 5.


Human papillomaviruses have been recognized as the causative agent of anogenital cancer. In 2006, a commercial vaccine based on virus-like particles composed of the L1 major capsid protein of the papillomaviruses has been available. This vaccine induces virus-neutralizing antibody responses upon parenteral injection. Here we investigated the oral immunogenicity of different assembly forms of HPV 16 L1, that is: T7-VLPs, T1 particles and capsomeres. Our results show that all three assembly forms induce humoral and cellular immune responses after oral vaccination of mice. The anti-L1 antibodies were conformation-specific and showed neutralizing activity in a pseudovirion-based assay. We also investigated if adjuvants have an influence on the oral immunogenicity of the different L1 forms. For saponins we observed a significant toxicity if applied orally. Co-administration of either CpG DNA or Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin LT(R192G) had no apparent enhancing effect on the production of anti-L1 antibodies. More pronounced was the effect of CpG administration on the long-term immunity as we observed a significantly stronger recall response 244 days after the first vaccination. Compared to capsomeres, VLPs induced stronger humoral immune responses while the CTL responses were induced at comparable levels. Finally, we were also able to induce neutralizing antibodies and L1-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes after oral administration of crude extracts of L1-expressing insect cells. In conclusion, all three assembly forms of the L1 protein are immunogenic when administered orally.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / biosynthesis
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Antigens, Viral / administration & dosage
  • Antigens, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Capsid Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Capsid Proteins / chemistry
  • Capsid Proteins / immunology*
  • Female
  • Human papillomavirus 16 / immunology*
  • Human papillomavirus 16 / pathogenicity
  • Human papillomavirus 16 / physiology
  • Human papillomavirus 16 / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Immunoglobulin A / biosynthesis
  • Immunoglobulin G / biosynthesis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Oncogene Proteins, Viral / administration & dosage
  • Oncogene Proteins, Viral / chemistry
  • Oncogene Proteins, Viral / immunology*
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Recombinant Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • Recombinant Proteins / isolation & purification
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • Virion / immunology
  • Virus Assembly


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Viral
  • Capsid Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Oncogene Proteins, Viral
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • L1 protein, Human papillomavirus type 16