A papillomatous cyst was induced by implanting bovine foetal palate epithelium, infected with bovine papillomavirus type 4 (BPV-4), beneath the renal capsule of a nude mouse. The benign tumour underwent malignant progression, developing into a squamous cell carcinoma with metastatic deposits in the spleen. The bovine origin of both the renal and splenic cancers was confirmed by the presence of bovine major histocompatibility complex class I antigens in the cancer cells and by sequencing the Harvey- 1 gene, which was shown to be of bovine origin. BPV-4 DNA was present in the residual papillomatous fronds of the renal cancer, but was absent from the carcinoma proper and for the splenic metastasis. These results confirm that BPV-4 is a carcinogenic agent and that its genetic information is not necessary for the maintenance of the malignant phenotype. Moreover the system provides the opportunity to investigate the role of viral and chemical carcinogens in an experimental system.


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