Preclinical infection model systems are extremely valuable tools to aid in our understanding of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) biology, disease progression, prevention, and treatments. In this context, rodent papillomaviruses and their respective infection models are useful tools but remain underutilized resources in the field of papillomavirus biology. Two rodent papillomaviruses, MnPV1, which infects the Mastomys
species of multimammate rats, and MmuPV1, which infects laboratory mice, are currently the most studied rodent PVs. Both of these viruses cause malignancy in the skin and can provide attractive infection models to study the lesser understood cutaneous papillomaviruses that have been frequently associated with HPV-related skin cancers. Of these, MmuPV1 is the first reported rodent papillomavirus that can naturally infect the laboratory strain of mice. MmuPV1 is an attractive model virus to study papillomavirus pathogenesis because of the ubiquitous availability of lab mice and the fact that this mouse species is genetically modifiable. In this review, we have summarized the knowledge we have gained about PV biology from the study of rodent papillomaviruses and point out the remaining gaps that can provide new research opportunities.
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