Identification of a novel human polyomavirus in organs of the gastrointestinal tract

Sarah Korup, Janita Rietscher, Sebastien Calvignac-Spencer, Franziska Trusch, Jorg Hofmann, Ugo Moens, Igor Sauer, Sebastian Voigt, Rosa Schmuck, Bernhard Ehlers

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Polyomaviruses are small, non-enveloped viruses with a circular double-stranded DNA genome. Using a generic polyomavirus PCR targeting the VP1 major structural protein gene, a novel polyomavirus was initially identified in resected human liver tissue and provisionally named Human Polyomavirus 12 (HPyV12). Its 5033 bp genome is predicted to encode large and small T antigens and the 3 structural proteins VP1, VP2 and VP3. Phylogenetic analyses did not reveal a close relationship to any known human or animal polyomavirus. Investigation of organs, body fluids and excretions of diseased individuals and healthy subjects with both HPyV12-specific nested PCR and quantitative real-time PCR revealed additional virus-positive samples of resected liver, cecum and rectum tissues and a positive fecal sample. A capsomer-based IgG ELISA was established using the major capsid protein VP1 of HPyV12. Seroprevalences of 23% and 17%, respectively, were determined in sera from healthy adults and adolescents and a pediatric group of children. These data indicate that the virus naturally infects humans and that primary infection may already occur in childhood.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere50821
JournalPloS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2013


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