We have identified regions of the major capsid protein, L1, of the human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 (HPV-16 L1), that are recognized by five monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) raised to a bacterial fusion protein containing residues 172 to 375 of HPV-16 L1. All five MAbs recognized HPV-16-infected tissue sections by immuno-histochemistry, but not sections infected with HPV-1a (cutaneous warts), HPV-6b or -11 (genital warts). MAbs 3D1, 5A4 and 1D6 also recognized HPV-2-infected sections (cutaneous warts); MAb 8C4 recognized only sections containing HPV-16. Four MAbs (8C4, 3D1, 1D6 and 5A4) recognized a synthetic peptide corresponding to residues 269 to 284 of HPV-16 L1; within this region a minimum antibody binding site was identified, a tripeptide 276 to 278. However the complete epitope appears to extend beyond these residues and beyond HPV-16 L1 (269 to 284). The fifth MAb, 1C6, recognized bacterial fusion proteins containing HPV-6b L1, -16 L1 or -18 L1 using immunoblots, yet appeared HPV-16-specific when tested on infected tissue sections. This MAb recognized five amino acids within a different region of HPV-16 L1 (residues 299 to 313).


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