Human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 is implicated in the actiology of anogenital dysplasia which may progress to malignancy. HPV-16 DNA is actively transcribed in cervical carcinomas, the most abundant transcripts being from the E6 and E7 early open reading frames. The E7 protein has been shown to have transforming activity . In this report we define four immunodominant B epitopes within the protein corresponding to the E7 gene, using a panel of murine monoclonal antibodies. Three epitopes are linear and lie within the N-terminal region of the molecule, and are unique to the HPV-16 E7 protein. One epitope is non-linear and presumed to be conformational. At least three of the four epitopes of the E7 protein are detectable by immunoprecipitation from an HPV-16-infected cervical carcinoma cell line. The demonstrated immunogenicity of the E7 protein allows us to deduce that this molecule may be a potential candidate for incorporation in a vaccine against cervical cancer.


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