• Question: What is the most interesting thing you have discovered so far about the HPV virus

    Asked by stuartabingdon to Ramya on 22 Jun 2014.
    • Photo: Ramya Bhatia

      Ramya Bhatia answered on 22 Jun 2014:


      HPV is a very interesting virus because it has a wonderful way of hiding itself from our body’s immune cells that kill all viruses and bacteria.
      You probably know our skin has several layers. The lowest layer- closest to our organs is called the basal membrane. HPV only makes 8 proteins so it is a tiny virus. It can only infect the basal membrane and in the basal membrane is only makes 2 proteins, in the middle layers it makes 5 proteins and in the uppermost layers it makes the other 3 proteins. In this way, it doesnt express all 8 protein in any cell and because of that it is able to hide very effectively.

      The most interesting thing i have discovered so far is that HPV interacts with a protein in our body called SPZ1. This protein stops our cells from dividing uncontrollably and HPV stops this protein. By doing this it is making the cell continously dividing. the idea of this research in broad terms is if we can stop HPV from blocking this protein using a drug, we can possibly find a medicine that can be effective against HPV.

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