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Viruses 2017, 9(9), 240;

The Enigmatic Origin of Papillomavirus Protein Domains

Department of Bioinformatics, University of Tartu, Riia 23a, Tartu 51010, Estonia
School of Biochemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TD, UK
Estonian Biocentre, Riia 23b, Tartu 51010, Estonia
Institute of Technology, University of Tartu, Nooruse 1, Tartu 50411, Estonia
Both authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Alison A. McBride and Karl Munger
Received: 18 July 2017 / Revised: 17 August 2017 / Accepted: 19 August 2017 / Published: 23 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Expert Views on HPV Infection)
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Almost a century has passed since the discovery of papillomaviruses. A few decades of research have given a wealth of information on the molecular biology of papillomaviruses. Several excellent studies have been performed looking at the long- and short-term evolution of these viruses. However, when and how papillomaviruses originate is still a mystery. In this study, we systematically searched the (sequenced) biosphere to find distant homologs of papillomaviral protein domains. Our data show that, even including structural information, which allows us to find deeper evolutionary relationships compared to sequence-only based methods, only half of the protein domains in papillomaviruses have relatives in the rest of the biosphere. We show that the major capsid protein L1 and the replication protein E1 have relatives in several viral families, sharing three protein domains with Polyomaviridae and Parvoviridae. However, only the E1 replication protein has connections with cellular organisms. Most likely, the papillomavirus ancestor is of marine origin, a biotope that is not very well sequenced at the present time. Nevertheless, there is no evidence as to how papillomaviruses originated and how they became vertebrate and epithelium specific. View Full-Text
Keywords: papillomaviruses; protein domains; structural domains; origin papillomaviruses; protein domains; structural domains; origin

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Puustusmaa, M.; Kirsip, H.; Gaston, K.; Abroi, A. The Enigmatic Origin of Papillomavirus Protein Domains. Viruses 2017, 9, 240.

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