Ancient evolution and dispersion of human papillomavirus 58 variants

Zigui Chen, Wendy C.S. Ho, Siaw Shi Boon, Priscilla T.Y. Law, Martin C.W. Chan, Rob DeSalle, Robert D. Burk, Paul K.S. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Human papillomavirus 58 (HPV58) is found in 10 to 18% of cervical cancers in East Asia but is rather uncommon elsewhere. The distribution and oncogenic potential of HPV58 variants appear to be heterogeneous, since the E7 T20I/G63S variant is more prevalent in East Asia and confers a 7- to 9-fold-higher risk of cervical precancer and cancer. However, the underlying genomic mechanisms that explain the geographic and carcinogenic diversity of HPV58 variants are still poorly understood. In this study, we used a combination of phylogenetic analyses and bioinformatics to investigate the deep evolutionary history of HPV58 complete genome variants. The initial splitting of HPV58 variants was estimated to occur 478,600 years ago (95% highest posterior density [HPD], 391,000 to 569,600 years ago). This divergence time is well within the era of speciation between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals/Denisovans and around three times longer than the modern Homo sapiens divergence times. The expansion of present-day variants in Eurasia could be the consequence of viral transmission from Neanderthals/Denisovans to non-African modern human populations through gene flow. A whole-genome sequence signature analysis identified 3 amino acid changes, 16 synonymous nucleotide changes, and a 12-bp insertion strongly associated with the E7 T20I/G63S variant that represents the A3 sublineage and carries higher carcinogenetic potential. Compared with the capsid proteins, the oncogenes E7 and E6 had increased substitution rates indicative of higher selection pressure. These data provide a comprehensive evolutionary history and genomic basis of HPV58 variants to assist further investigation of carcinogenic association and the development of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01285-17
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017


  • Cervical cancer
  • Evolution
  • HPV58
  • Oncogenicity
  • Papillomavirus
  • Virus-host codivergence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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