Molecular Genetics & Microbiology

Michelle Ozbun

Michelle A. Ozbun, Ph.D.

The Maralyn S. Budke Endowed Professor of Viral Oncology

Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
MSC08 4660
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
Office: Cancer Research Facility (CRF) 317
Tel: (505) 272-4950
Fax: (505) 272-6029

Keywords: Papillomavirus, HPV, virus infection, skin, wart, epithelium, cancer, cervix, cervical cancer, skin cancer, anogenital cancer, penile cancer, head-and-neck cancer, breast cancer, animal model, rhesus macaque, tobacco, nitric oxide, heat shock proteins, chaperone, co-factors, basic science, pre-clinical models, microbicides, vaccine, virus-cell interactions, epithelial biology, cancer biology, virology

Please visit the OZBUN LAB HOMEPAGE for more information or if you are interested in post-doctoral opportunities

Research Interests

Papillomaviruses (PVs) are etiologic agents of a number of benign and malignant tumors of the skin and mucosa.  These include anogenital cancers, such as penile, anal, and cervical carcinomas and adenocarinomas, a subset of cancers of the head-and-neck, and certain non-melanoma skin malignancies. 

The focus of research in our lab is on the differentiation-dependent life cycles of PVs and how the life cycles are disrupted leading to malignancies.  Primarily our group focuses on human papillomaviruses (HPVs), but we also study some animal papillomaviruses as model systems.  In particular, we have been developing a rhesus monkey model of papillomavirus-induced genital infection and disease.  RhPV1 causes genital neoplasias and malignancies in rhesus monkeys and we determining if this system can be used to study the pathogenesis of PV-induced anogenital lesions in vivo.

PVs require differentiating epithelium in order to complete their viral life cycles and we use the organotypic (raft) tissue culture system to cultivate differentiating epithelium and study the life cycles of PVs in the laboratory.

The long-term goals of our research program are to elucidate the cellular and viral mechanisms that regulate the life cycle of PVs, and to understand the delicate virus-cell interactions that can become unbalanced, leading to malignancy. We are specifically interested in three areas of research with respect to PV infections and cancer:  (i) Investigating the strategies of initial PV replication upon infection and the mechanisms for establishment of viral persistence; (ii) Identifying the step(s) of PV infection at which host range and tissue tropism are demonstrated; (iii) Analyzing potential common pathways used by various co-factors that cooperate with HPVs in causing cancers.

HPV Life Cycle

A model for PV infection and life cycle in a stratified epithelium. The three stages of viral genome replication are indicated; major viral functions and presence of potential cellular attachment moieties in the differentiated epithelial tissues are noted at the right.  Infection of basal cells is likely necessary for the establishment of viral persistence in these putative stem cells.  Stage I involves the initial establishment of the viral genome at low copy number (10-50 copies per cell) in an infected cell.  Stage II is the replication of genomes along with cellular DNA in preparation for cell division.  As cells migrate through the epithelium, they undergo a complex program of differentiation.  Stage III viral DNA amplification occurs in suprabasal cells and is the vegetative DNA replication phase.  Late gene expression is restricted to the upper, differentiated layers of the epithelium; concurrent viral DNA amplification and late gene expression lead to viral DNA packaging and virion morphogenesis.  Many HSPGs including syndecans and glypicans are expressed on keratinocyte membranes throughout the epidermis and mucosa.  Alpha-6 integrin expression is generally restricted to basal keratinocytes where it can pair with alpha-4 integrin attaching the keratin cytoskeleton to the basement membrane, in some cases by binding to laminin 5.  Laminin 5 is an extracellular molecule found in the basement membrane where it anchors cells.  During wound healing laminin 5 is secreted into the leading edge of the wound (indicated by *).  See references and figure in (Ozbun, Campos and Smith, 2007).


U.S. Patent Serial No. 6,110,663: Methods for detecting, titering, and determining susceptibility to papillomavirus.

U.S. Patent Serial No. 7,285,386: RhPV as a model for HPV-induced cancers. See the description our Lab Homepage under " Our Model Systems".

Selected Publications

Link to PubMed

Klionsky DJ, et al.  2016 Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (3rd edition). Autophagy 12(1):1-222.

Surviladze, Z., R. T. Sterk and M. A. Ozbun. 2015. The interaction of human papillomavirus type 16 particles with heparan sulfate and syndecan-1 molecules in the keratinocyte extracellular matrix plays an active role in infection. J. Gen. Virol. Aug;96(8):2232-41.

Ozbun, M. A. and Patterson, N. A. 2014. Using Organotypic (Raft) Epithelial Tissue Cultures for the Biosynthesis and Isolation of Infectious Human Papillomaviruses. Curr. Protoc. Microbiol. 34:B:14B.3:14B.3.1–14B.3.18. 

Wei, L., Griego, A.M., Chu, M. and M.A. Ozbun. 2014. Tobacco exposure results in increased E6 and E7 oncogene expression, DNA damage and mutation rates in cells maintaining episomal human papillomavirus 16 genomes, Published ahead of print Carcinogenesis, 35(10):2373-81.

Tyler M., Tumban E., Dziduszko A., Ozbun M.A., Peabody D.S., B. Chackerian. 2014. Immunization with a consensus epitope from human papillomavirus L2 induces antibodies that are broadly neutralizing, Vaccine. Jul 23;32(34):4267-74. 

Dziduszko, A. and  M.A. Ozbun. 2013. Annexin A2 and S100A10 Regulate Human Papillomavirus Type 16 Entry and Intracellular Trafficking in Human Keratinocytes, J. Virol., 87(13):7502-7515.

Surviladze, Z., R. T. Sterk, S. A. De Haro, and M. A. Ozbun. 2013. Cellular Entry of Human Papillomavirus Type 16 Involves Activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR Pathway and Inhibition of Autophagy. J Virol, 87:2508-2517.

Surviladze Z, Dziduszko A, and M. A. Ozbun.  2012.  Essential roles for soluble virion-associated heparan sulfonated proteoglycans and growth factors in human papillomavirus infections.  PLoS Pathog. Feb;8(2):e1002519. Epub 2012 Feb 9.

Campos SK, Chapman JA, Deymier MJ, Bronnimann MP, and M. A. Ozbun.  2012. Opposing effects of bacitracin on human papillomavirus type 16 infection: enhancement of binding and entry and inhibition of endosomal penetration.  J Virol. Apr;86(8):4169-81. Epub 2012 Feb 15.

Bergant Marusic, M., Ozbun, M. A, Campos, S. K., Myers, M. P., L. Banks.  2012. Human Papillomavirus L2 facilitates viral escape from late endosomes via Sorting Nexin 17.  Traffic, 13(3):455-67. 

H. Song, P. Moseley, S. L. Lowe, and M. A. Ozbun. 2010. Inducible heat shock protein 70 enhances HPV31 viral genome replication and virion production during the differentiation-dependent life cycle in human keratinocytes. Virus Res.  Jan;147(1):113-22. Epub 2009 Nov 5.

Wei, L., P.E. Gravitt, H. Song, A. Maldonado, and M. A. Ozbun. 2009. Nitric oxide induces early viral transcription coincident with increased DNA damage and mutation rates in human papillomavirus infected cells. Cancer Res. 69: 4878-4884.

Campos, S. K. and M. A. Ozbun. 2009. Two Highly Conserved Cysteine Residues in Human Papillomavirus Type 16 L2 Form an Intramolecular Disulfide Bond and are Critical for Infectivity in Human Keratinocytes. PLoS ONE 4(2): e4463. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004463

Tomaic, V., D. Gardiol, P. Massimi, M. Ozbun, M. Myers, and L. Banks. 2009. Human and Primate Tumour viruses use PDZ binding as an evolutionarily conserved mechanism of targeting cell polarity regulators. Oncogene 28(1):1-8.

J.L. Smith, D. S. Lidke, and M. A. Ozbun. 2008. Virus activated filopodia promote human papillomavirus type 31 uptake from the extracellular matrix. Virology, 381:16-21. **Cover art for journal issue.

J. L. Smith, S.K. Campos, A. Wandinger-Ness, and M. A. Ozbun.  2008. Caveolin-1 dependent infectious entry of human papillomavirus type 31 in human keratinocytes proceeds to the endosomal pathway for pH-dependent uncoating. J. Virology, 82:9505-9512.

J.L. Smith, S.K. Campos and M. A. Ozbun. 2007. Human papillomavirus type 31 uses a caveolin 1- and dynamin 2-mediated entry pathway for infection of human keratinocytes. J. Virology, 81:9922-9931.

Ozbun, M. A., S. K. Campos, and J. L. Smith. 2007.  The Early Events of Human Papillomavirus Infections: Implications for Regulation of Cell Tropism and Host Range, In New Strategies for Human Papillomavirus Gene Regulation and Transformation, B. Norrild (Ed.), Research Signpost, Kerala, India, pp 69-122.

Y. Wu, S. K. Campos, G. P. Lopez, M. A. Ozbun, L. A. Sklar, T. Buranda, 2007. The Development of Quantum Dot Calibration Beads and Quantitative Multicolor Bioassays in Flow Cytometry and Microscopy, Anal. Biochem. 364(2):180-92.

A. F. Deyrieux, G. Rosas-Acosta, M. A. Ozbun and Van G. Wilson.  2007. Sumoylation dynamics during keratinocyte differentiation, J. Cell Sci. 120:125-36.

N. A. Patterson, J. L. Smith, M. A. Ozbun.  2005. Human papillomavirus type 31b infection of human keratinocytes does not require heparan sulfate.  J. Virology, 79: 6838-6847.

P. F. Lambert, M. A. Ozbun, A. Collins, S. Holmgren, D. Lee, and T. Nakahara. 2005. Using an immortalized cell line to study the HPV life cycle in organotypic "raft" cultures. Methods Mol Med. 119:141-55.

S.C. Holmgren, N. A. Patterson, M. A. Ozbun, P. F. Lambert.  2005. The minor capsid protein, L2, contributes to multiple steps in the papillomaviral life cycle. J. Virology, 79:3938-3948.

J. H. Lee, S. M. P. Yi, M. E. Anderson, K. L. Berger, M. J. Welsh, A. J. Klingelhutz, and M. A. Ozbun. 2004. Propagation of Infectious Human Papillomavirus Type 16 Using Adenovirus and Cre/LoxP Mechanism.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 101:2094-2099.

Ozbun, M. A. 2002. Human papillomavirus type 31b infection of human keratinocytes and the onset of early transcription, J. Virol, 76:11291-11300.

Ozbun, M. A. 2002. Infectious human papillomavirus type 31b: purification and infection of an immortalized human keratinocyte cell line, J. Gen. Virol, 83:2753-2763.

Steele, B. K., C. Meyers, and M. A. Ozbun. 2002. Variable expression of some "housekeeping" genes during human keratinocyte differentiation, Anal. Biochem., 307:341-347.

Lab Members: