The papillomaviruses form a large group of species-specific pathogens that cause epithelial proliferations in a wide spectrum of animal hosts. Previous reports demonstrated a relatively high frequency of a variety of skin lesions in captive European harvest mice. The Micromys minutus papillomavirus (MmPV) was isolated from one of these lesions found on a captive European harvest mouse in a regional zoo in Chicago. In this study we present the entire genomic sequence of MmPV. The MmPV genome is organized into the seven classical papillomaviral open reading frames. Phylogenetic analysis places MmPV together with a papillomavirus (PV) isolated from a Syrian golden Hamster (HaOPV) in the genus Pipapillomavirus. The similar clustering pattern of the MmPV-HaOPV pair and their rodent hosts support the hypothesis of papillomaviral and host co-phylogenetic descent. The availability of the complete genomic sequence of a mouse PV should allow researchers to use MmPV as a model for PV carcinogenesis.
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