High-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types, specifically HPV 16 E6 variants are involved in viral persistence and the development of cervical lesions. India contributes to 1/3rd of the global cervical cancer deaths; however, information on E6 variants in the Indian population is limited. Information on these variants is essential for successful implementation of cervical cancer immunization programs. The E6 variants and their possible biological implications to the outcome of infection were studied in women attending the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India. Cervical cancer patients with HPV 16 as a single infection (n = 33), co-infection with another HPV type (n = 20) or with multiple types (n = 10) were examined for HPV16 E6 variants using PCR and sequence analysis. The variants were identified using the prototype sequence (HPV 16R) belonging to the European lineage. The results revealed that the European T350G was the most common variant (50%) followed by the European prototype (40.3%) and the North-American (N = 3; 4.8%). The European prototype was significantly more frequent in patients infected with HPV16 alone (P < 0.05, C.I. 1.2-13.6), while the European T350G variants were seen in women with co-infections. The North-American lineage was found in women infected with HPV16 and 33. Three novel variants were identified of which two were non-synonymous. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the variant F69L + L83V is not related to any of these lineages, while the variant M137L + L83V is closely related to the North American variant. This study found a difference in the prevalence of E6 variants compared to earlier Indian studies and their association with type of infection.
Keywords: E6 variants; HPV16; molecular docking; phylogenetic analysis.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.