Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are one of the most common sexually-transmitted diseases worldwide. Nowadays, more than 200 HPV types have been identified by DNA sequencing. HPV types are also grouped into three, such as high-risk (types 6, 11, 40, 42, 43, 44, 54, etc), probable high-risk (types 26, 53, 66) and low-risk (types 6, 11, 40, 42, 43, 44, 54, etc) types according to their oncogenic potential. HPV is currently considered as the main aetiological factor of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and cervical cancer. HPV types classified in Papillomaviridae family, are non-enveloped, icosahedral symmetric viruses about 55 nm in size. Viral genome consists of circular double-stranded DNA, about 8 kb in size, encodes for early proteins (E1, E2, E4, E5, E6, E7) which play role in virus replication and cell transformation, and for late (L1, L2) proteins which are the structural units of the viral capsid. Integration of HPV DNA into the host chromosome is crucial for viral persistence and for carcinogenic effects. Viral DNA may integrate randomly to the cell genome and integration can lead to the deregulation and increase of E6/E7 expression leading to oncogenesis. However, increased expression of E6/E7 gene products may occur without genome integration. E6 and E7 proteins of especially high-risk HPV types (e.g. types 16 and 18) interact with tumor supressor proteins such as p53 and retinoblastoma (pRb) proteins, respectively; inhibit their functions and cause uncontrolled proliferation and immortalization of the cells. The binding of E6 protein to p53 leads its rapid degradation, and the eclipse in the Cl phase, DNA repair mechanisms and apoptosis are terminated. In the other way, E7 protein interacts with pRb and mitotically interactive cellular proteins such as cyclin-E, causing stimulation of cellular DNA synthesis and cell proliferation. Recently identified genes E3 and E8 are located in early gene region and found only in a few papillomavirus types (HPV 1, 11, 16, 31, 33). A fusion protein, E8(boolean AND)E2C, functions as a negative regulator for HPV DNA replication and it is thought that this protein may play a role in the control of viral copy number as well as in the stable maintenance of HPV episomes. In this review article, the genomic structure of HPV and the functions of gene products have been summarized.