Sensitive high-throughput neutralization assays, based upon pseudoviruses carrying a secreted alkaline phosphatase (SEAP) reporter gene, were developed and validated for human papillomavirus (HPV)16, HPV18, and bovine papillomavirus 1 (BPV1). SEAP pseudoviruses were produced by transient transfection of codon-modified papillomavirus structural genes into an SV40 T antigen expressing line derived from 293 cells, yielding sufficient pseudovirus from one flask for thousands of titrations. In a 96-well plate format, in this initial characterization, the assay was reproducible and appears to be as sensitive as, but more specific than, a standard papillomavirus-like particle (VLP)-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The neutralization assay detected type-specific HPV16 or HPV18 neutralizing antibodies (titers of 160-10240) in sera of the majority of a group of women infected with the corresponding HPV type, but not in virgin women. Sera from HPV16 VLP vaccinees had high anti-HPV16 neutralizing titers (mean: 45000; range: 5120-163840), but no anti-HPV18 neutralizing activity. The SEAP pseudovirus-based neutralization assay should be a practical method for quantifying potentially protective antibody responses in HPV natural history and prophylactic vaccine studies.
- Virus-like particles
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