The Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes sexually transmitted diseases. Among several types of HPV variants, HPV 16 is listed as a high-risk group, the primary cervical cancer etiologic agent, which causes life-threatening disease among women worldwide. The presence of L1, E6 and E7 encoded oncoproteins are largely responsible for virulence and pathogenicity that leads to cervical lesions. This menace is required to be curbed by designing an anti-cancerous drugs. The protein receptor-inhibitor interaction adopted using in silico analysis is very important in drug designing. It was the objective of this study to identify HPV16 isolates from suspected cases of cervical cancer at SH Sokoto and SYMH Birnin Kebbi hospitals and also to identify potent HPV16’s L1 protein inhibitor using in silico analysis of Echinacoside, curcumin and Cichoric acid against the viral protein.
A total of 140 cervical smear samples consisting of 21 low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion, 6 high grade lesion and 117 negative pap smears were collected. The samples were subjected for molecular detection using PCR targeting E6 and L1 genes of the virus. Positive samples were sequenced using Sanger sequencing platform. All the sequencing data were analysed using bioedit software while data generated for the molecular prevalence was statistically analyzed using Chi-square. A comprehensive HPV L1 protein homology model was designed to predict the L1 protein interaction mechanism with natural inhibitory molecules using a structural drug design approach. AutoDock Vina was used to carry out the molecular docking.
Out of the 140 samples, 24 samples were positive for the PCR representing 16.7% molecular prevalence rate. There is statistically significant association between cyto-diagnoses and presence of HPV16 ( P ˂0.05). The highest prevalence rate of 12(50% of positive sample) was recorded among women between 30-39 years old. Docking analysis showed that the Chicoric acid components of Echinacea purpurae have strong binding affinity to the L1 protein of the HPV.
This study provides data on HPV 16 epidemiology in northern Nigeria, High-risk type 16 HPV variant was identified and also provides novel evidence for consideration on certain interacting residues, when synthesizing Anti-HPV compounds in the wet lab.