Characterisation of early and late bovine papillomavirus protein expression in equine sarcoids

A. D. Wilson*, E. L. R. Armstrong, R. G. Gofton, Jenny Mason, N. De Toit, M. J. Day

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Sarcoids are common skin tumours of horses and donkeys that are characterised by persistent proliferation of dermal fibroblasts associated with the presence of bovine papillomavirus (BPV) DNA. Some early BPV proteins have been demonstrated within sarcoids and RNA containing both early and late transcripts is present, yet it remains unclear whether late replication of BPV, culminating in the production of infectious virus particles, can occur in equids. Here we report that BPV1 RNA isolated from equine sarcoids encodes a unique deletion of four residues within the L2 protein suggesting a novel variant of virus has evolved in equines. Such viral evolution would require the production and transmission of virus particles among horses with sarcoids. Quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated the presence of mRNA transcripts containing early gene message in sarcoid tissues and BPV-E2 early virus antigen was detected by immunofluorescence in the nuclei of dermal fibroblasts, but no E2 expression could be detected within the overlying epidermis where productive virus replication would be expected to occur.

Although immunohistochemistry clearly detected late virus proteins in the nuclei of dermal cells from samples of bovine papillomas, no late protein expression was detected in formalin-fixed tissue from equine sarcoids; either in the dermis or epidermis. Moreover, quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated that late gene mRNA represented

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-380
Number of pages12
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number2-4
Early online date2 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2013


  • Equine
  • E5
  • Tumour
  • TYPE-1
  • DNA
  • Papillomavirus
  • Sarcoid


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