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J Gen Virol. 1986 Jul;67 ( Pt 7):1485-90.

Persistence of BK virus in human foetal pancreas cells.


High multiplicity BK virus (BKV) infection of primary cells derived from human foetal pancreas resulted in massive cytopathology and subsequent outgrowth of cells. Intranuclear BKV T-antigen was present in all cells and viral antigen was detected in 10 to 30% of these cells. The subcultured cells yielded BKV in the supernatant (approx. 10(5) TCID50/ml) and in the cells free viral DNA was present (approx. 10% of total cellular DNA content). Analysis of the viral DNA indicated the presence of deleted and rearranged BKV DNA molecules. Although all cells continuously expressed BKV T-antigen they did not exhibit the transformed phenotype. This persistent infection of human foetal pancreas cells represents a novel type of in vitro interaction between BKV and human cells which may correspond to the in vivo findings on BKV tropism for pancreatic cells.

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