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Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) E6 and E7 oncoproteins play a crucial role in HPV-related diseases, such as cervical cancer, and can be used as ideal targets for therapeutic vaccines. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) participates in the immune response to block HPV infection and invasion by its target/recognition function. HPV-33 and HPV-58 are highly prevalent among Chinese women. Therefore, it is of great significance to study the E6 and E7 region-specific gene polymorphisms of HPV-33 and HPV-58 in Southwest China and to identify ideal epitopes for vaccine design. Both HPV-33 and HPV-58 belong to α-9 genus HPV and are highly homologous, so their correlations are included in our research. Methods: To study the E6 and E7 variations and polymorphisms of HPV-33 and HPV-58 in Southwest China, we collected samples, extracted and sequenced DNA, and identified variants. Nucleotide sequences were translated into amino acids by Mega 6.0 software. The physical/chemical properties, amino acid-conserved sequences and secondary structure of protein sequences were analysed by the Protparam server, ConSurf server and PSIPRED software. The T and B cell epitopes of the E6/E7 reference and variant sequences in HPV-33 and HPV-58 were predicted by the Immune Epitope Database (IEDB) analysis server and the ABCpred server, respectively. Results: Five and seven optimal HLA-I restricted T cell epitopes were selected from HPV-33 and HPV-58 E6, respectively, and these optimal epitopes are mainly located in 41-58EVYDFAFADLTVVYREGN of HPV-33 E6 and 40-60SEVYDFVFADLRIVYRDGNPF of HPV-58 E6. Six optimal HLA-I-restricted T cell epitopes were selected from HPV-33 and HPV-58 E7, and these epitopes are mainly located in 77-90RTIQQLLMGTVNIV of HPV-33 E7 and 78-91RTLQQLLMGTCTIV of HPV-58 E7. Conclusions: HPV-33/HPV-58 E6/E7 gene polymorphisms and T/B cell epitopes of their reference and variant sequences were studied, and candidate epitopes were selected by bioinformatics techniques for therapeutic vaccine design for people in Southwest China. This study was the first to investigate the correlation of epitopes between HPV-33 and HPV-58. After experimental validation, these selected epitopes will be employed to induce a wide range of immune responses in heterogeneous HLA populations.
He, J., Yang, Y., Chen, Z., Liu, Y., Bao, S., Zhao, Y., & Ding, X. (2019). Identification of variants and therapeutic epitopes in HPV-33/HPV-58 E6 and E7 in Southwest China. Virology Journal, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12985-019-1168-y