Multiple papillomatous nodules were observed scattered over the amniotic membrane in six water buffaloes that had recently aborted. Grossly, some of the nodules had multiple villous projections while others appeared as single prominent conical or cylindrical horns. Histology revealed folded hyperplastic and hyperkeratotic epithelium supported by a narrow fibro-vascular stalk. Using PCR, sequences of the bovine Deltapapillomavirus type 2 (BPV-2) E5 gene were amplified from the amniotic papillomas. Furthermore, expression of the E5 gene was detected using reverse transcription (RT)-PCR. Western blotting revealed BPV-2 E5 oncoprotein as well as L1 protein, suggesting both abortive and productive infection. Additionally, a functional complex composed of BPV-2 E5 oncoprotein and the phosphorylated PDGFβR was detected, which is consistent with the activation of PDGFβR by the interaction with BPV-2 E5 oncoprotein. These results demonstrate that BPV-2 can infect the amnion of water buffaloes and suggest that this infection may cause proliferation of the epithelial cells of the amnion. While the precise pathogenesis in uncertain, it is possible that BPV-2 infection of stratified squamous epithelial cells within squamous metaplasia foci and/or amniotic plaques could lead to papilloma formation. Papillomavirus-associated amniotic papillomas have not previously been reported in any species, including humans.
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