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Characterization of equine Papillomavirus Type 2 in vitro and in vivo

Author Sophie RAMSAUER
Director of thesis Supervisor: Dr. Kurt Tobler Co-advisor: Prof. Claude Favrot Mentor: Prof. Adrian Hehl
Co-director of thesis
Summary of thesis

Equine papillomavirus type 2 (EcPV2) was first described in 2010. Since then it has been consistently detected in equine penile papillomas, in situ and invasive squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), suggesting that the infection with EcPV2 is a crucial factor for the development of those lesions. Genital SCCs pose a significant welfare problem to the affected horses, because aggressive surgical therapy is required to manage the lesions. In order to avoid radical surgery it is important to reveal the mechanisms, which are involved in the EcPV2-associated development of SCC.

In a first approach to address this issue, penile tissue samples were collected from horses with EcPV2-positive SCC as well as from healthy EcPV2-negative horses. Thereof RNA-Seq analysis was performed and the sequencing reads were mapped to the horse as well as to the EcPV2 genome.

The next step and aim of this the study is to compare in vitro cultivated EcPV2-DNA containing equine keratinocyte cell cultures with the in vivo situation in tissue samples from horses with EcPV2 associated penile lesions. The cell culture and tissue samples will be characterized on the basis of our former RNAseq analysis and the results will be compared.

All known aspects about EcPV2 demand for further characterization of this virus and its potential associated development of SCC. If the in vitro situation in keratinocyte cell culture is comparable to the in vivo situation in EcPV2 lesions, it might be a valuable tool to study EcPV2 and its associated cell changes in more detail.

Administrative delay for the defence End of January 2020