Papillomavirus infection in HeLa cells

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common viral sexually transmitted disease [1]. Most sexually active individuals will become infected at some point in their lives. Of those infections, about 90% are asymptomatic and resolve spontaneously [1]. Additionally, some types of HPV are known to increase the risk of cervix, anus, vulva, vagina, penis and oropharynx cancer [1]. In 2018 alone, 570,000 new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed [1] and 311,000 women died [1].

The World Health Organization advocates for the prevention, early diagnosis and effective screening of cervical cancer and supports treatment programs that help reduce both the mortality and incidence of cervical cancer. Vaccination against HPV has helped drastically decrease the prevalence of HPV in the UK [2].

In this footage, obtained using Nanolive’s 3D Cell Explorer-fluo, cervical cancer cells (HeLa cell line) were infected with HPV labelled with Cy5 and the internalization process was followed over time. One image was obtained every 5 mins for 5 h 20 min.

Special thanks to Prof. Wilbe Martin Kast, from the Kast Lab in Los Angeles (California, USA) for preparing the samples.

[1] World Health Organization

[2] “HPV Vaccine (Human Papillomavirus Vaccine) | Vaccine Knowledge.” [Online] Available:

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