The prevalent human papillomaviruses (HPVs) infect either cutaneous or mucosal epithelium.
Active Infections lead to epithelial hyperprolifeation and are usually cleared in healthy individuals
within a year. Persistent infections in the anogenital tracts by certain high-risk genotypes such as
HPV-16, HPV-18 and closely related types, can progress to high grade dysplasias and carcinomas
in women and men, including cervical, vulva, penile and anal cancers. A signifiant fraction of the
head and neck cancers are also caused by HPV-16. The viral oncogenes responsible for neoplastic
conversion are E6 and E7 that disrupt the pathways controlled by the two major tumor suppressor
genes, p53 and members of pRB family. Because HPV cannot be propagated in conventional
submerged monolayer cell cultures, organotypic epithelial raft cultures that generate a stratifid
and differentiated epithelium have been used to study the viral life cycle. This article describes
several systems to examine aspects of the viral productive phase, along with the advantages and
limitations. Animal model systems of HPV carcinogenesis are also briefl described.