Bovine papillomavirus type 1 (BPV-1) virions were produced using vaccinia virus (VV) recombinants expressing the BPV-1 L1 and L2 capsid proteins. Particles morphologically resembling papillomaviruses were observed in the nucleus of cells infected with a VV recombinant for the BPV-1 L1 protein, and greater numbers of similar particles were seen in the nuclei of cells infected with a VV double recombinant for L1 and L2. Virus-like particles (VLPs) assembled in cells infected with the VV double recombinant for BPV-1 L1 and L2, and not those assembled in cells infected with the VV recombinant for BPV-1 L1 alone, were able to package BPV-1 DNA. Transcription of the BPV-1 E1 viral open reading frame was observed after a mouse fibroblast cell line was exposed to VLPs produced using a BPV-1 L1/L2 VV recombinant in a cell line containing episomal BPV-1 DNA. E1 transcription was not observed when the VLPs were pre-incubated with antibodies to the capsid protein of BPV-1. This system should allow an approach to the definition of the BPV-1 cellular receptor.


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