Eight overlapping icosapeptides covering the entire sequence of the E4 protein of human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16), were prepared and tested for their reactivity with human sera in IgG-specific ELISA. The strongest reactivity of sera from HPV-16 DNA-positive invasive cervical carcinoma (INCA) patients was detected with the peptide denoted 16/E4-6, covering amino acids 51 to 70. Subsequently nearly 200 sera were tested for the presence of the 16/E4-6-specific antibody. Reactivity was more frequent in cervical intraepithelial neoplasia patients and INCA patients than in matched control subjects. Sera from INCA patients were also tested for antibody reactive with peptide 16/E7-2 covering the major type-specific reactive region of the HPV-16 E7 protein. Only four of 13 sera possessing the 16/E4-6-specific antibody were reactive with the 16/E7-2 peptide.


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