A combination of 9,10-dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene (DMBA) application and excisional wounding on the lingual tips of Syrian Golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) induces dysplastic and malignant mucosal lesions. Papillomavirus genus-specific antigen and viral particles, measuring 55 nm in diameter, were demonstrated in the nuclei of squamous cells of dysplastic lesions showing koilocytotic change. In this study, we cloned a circular genome at a single Kpnl site from one of these dysplastic lesions. The genomic sequence of this clone, consisting of 7647 bp, was shown to be that of a novel papillomavirus with a conserved genomic organization. We named the new virus hamster oral papillomavirus (HOPV). All dysplastic lesions induced by this combination of DMBA application and excisional wounding contained viral DNA. Although Southern blot hybridization analysis could not detect the HOPV genome, PCR analysis demonstrated the latent HOPV genome in the tongue and skin of an untreated hamster. These results suggest that latently present HOPV genome is reactivated by the DMBA/wounding procedures. Lingual HOPV infection may be an important model for gaining insight into the interactions between papillomavirus infection, chemical carcinogens and physical irritations in carcinogenesis or malignant transformation.


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