Polymorphism of the L1 Capsid Gene and Persistence of Human Papillomavirus Type 52 Infection in Women at High Risk or Infected by HIV
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HIV-seropositive women are at increased risk for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which causes high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSILs). HPV-52 is a frequent HPV type in Canadian HIV-seropositive women. Because variations of the capsid gene, designated the L1 gene, could elicit immune responses that result in different efficiencies in eliminating HPV, we described HPV-52 polymorphism and assessed whether it was associated with HPV-52 persistence in 114 women at risk or infected by HIV. Nonsynonymous variations were more frequent in the 5 putative hypervariable regions (exposed loops of L1 protein) (10 [3.2%] variations over 311 nucleotides) than in nonvariable regions (4 [0.3%] variations over 1278 nucleotides; P < 0.0001). Synonymous variations were distributed evenly between hypervariable regions (10 [3.2%] variations over 311 nucleotides) and nonvariable regions (46 [3.6%] variations over 1278 nucleotides; P = 0.88). Nonprototype (nonreference) L1 variants were detected more frequently in women of African descent (24 [60.0%] of 40 women) than in white women (23 [37.1%] of 62 women, odds ratio = 2.54, 95% confidence interval: 1.11 to 5.81; P = 0.03). In contrast to previous findings that polymorphism in the long control region (LCR) was associated with HPV-52 persistence, L1 capsid variations were not associated with persistence (P = 0.45). L1 variations are unlikely to predispose to HPV-52 persistence and thus do not help to identify women at greater risk for HSILs.
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