Chapter 9 : Polyomaviruses

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The first polyomavirus was identified in suckling mice by Kilham and Murphy in 1953 ( ) and named the murine pneumotropic virus (MptV). This discovery was ground-breaking because it was demonstrated that infusion of this virus, or of a second, similar murine virus—murine polyomavirus (MpV), discovered the next year—caused adenocarcinomas and leukemias to form when injected into mice ( ). About 9 years later, two similar viruses, simian virus 40 (SV40) ( ) and a baboon polyomavirus, SA12, ( ) were identified. These four viruses were all found to be incapable of replication in humans but rather had species-specific replication. It was not until 18 years later, in 1971, that the first two human-associated polyomaviruses, BK and JC, were described ( ). Both of these human-specific viruses were found to cause disease but were not oncogenic. There was then nearly a 20-year gap before the discovery of another new polyomavirus, GHPyV ( ), isolated from geese in 2000. In contrast to this slow discovery rate using traditional viral methods, the discovery rate for polyomavirus strains dramatically increased in 2006 as a variety of newly available molecular methods for viral discovery became available. As of early 2015, more than 30 additional polyomaviruses have been identified from a variety of mammalian species. It is likely that additional strains are yet to be discovered ( ). Species-specific polyomaviruses have now been identified in humans, apes, monkeys, mice, hamsters, bats, cows, sea lions, horses, raccoons, rabbits, and a variety of different bird species. Of the recently identified polyomaviruses, 11 have been found in human tissues or specimens, including KI ( ), WU ( ), Merkel cell MCPyV ( ), trichodysplasia spinulosa TSPyV ( ), MWPyV/HPyV10 ( ), human polyomavirus (HpyV) 6 and HPyV7 ( ), HPyV9 ( ), HPyV12 ( ), Saint Louis STLPyV ( ), and New Jersey NJPyV ( ) (see Table 1 ). The 13 human polyomaviruses can be grouped into subgroups based on whole genome sequence alignment ( Fig. 1 ). Human polyomaviruses have been identified in multiple locations throughout the body including blood, respiratory fluids, skin, liver, stool, and gastrointestinal (GI) tract tissues. Although BK, JC, TSPyV, and Merkel cell virus (MCV) have been implicated in human disease, the remaining more recently described human polyomaviruses require further study to elucidate their potential to cause clinical disease.

Citation: Cook L. 2016. Polyomaviruses, p 197-216. In Hayden R, Wolk D, Carroll K, Tang Y (ed),

Diagnostic Microbiology of the Immunocompromised Host, Second Edition

. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.DMIH2-0010-2015
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Figure 1

Phylogenetic tree created from an alignment of one whole genome sequence for each of the 13 human polyomavirus types.

Citation: Cook L. 2016. Polyomaviruses, p 197-216. In Hayden R, Wolk D, Carroll K, Tang Y (ed),

Diagnostic Microbiology of the Immunocompromised Host, Second Edition

. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.DMIH2-0010-2015
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Generic image for table
Table 1

Human polyomavirus summary information

Citation: Cook L. 2016. Polyomaviruses, p 197-216. In Hayden R, Wolk D, Carroll K, Tang Y (ed),

Diagnostic Microbiology of the Immunocompromised Host, Second Edition

. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.DMIH2-0010-2015
Generic image for table
Table 2

Available BK and JC reagents for PCR testing as of December 2015

Citation: Cook L. 2016. Polyomaviruses, p 197-216. In Hayden R, Wolk D, Carroll K, Tang Y (ed),

Diagnostic Microbiology of the Immunocompromised Host, Second Edition

. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.DMIH2-0010-2015
Generic image for table
Table 3

Therapeutic options for BK-related kidney disease

Citation: Cook L. 2016. Polyomaviruses, p 197-216. In Hayden R, Wolk D, Carroll K, Tang Y (ed),

Diagnostic Microbiology of the Immunocompromised Host, Second Edition

. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.DMIH2-0010-2015

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