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J Virol. 1973 Sep;12(3):625-31.

Human papovavirus, BK strain: biological studies including antigenic relationship to simian virus 40.


Some of the properties of a new human papovavirus, BK, have been examined. Host range studies of BK virus (BKV) showed human cells to be more sensitive to infection than monkey cells; human fetal brain cells appear to be highly sensitive to BKV, with the production of extensive cytopathology characterized by cytoplasmic vacuolization. The hemagglutinin of BKV is associated with the virion and is resistant to ether or heating at 56 C for 30 min. Fluorescent antibody as well as neutralization tests indicated antigenic similarities between simian virus 40 (SV40) and BKV. Cells undergoing lytic infection with BKV synthesized intranuclear T antigen(s) which reacted with SV40 T antibody demonstrable by immunofluorescence. However, BKV did not appear to induce SV40 transplantation antigens in transplantation-resistance tests. Evidence was obtained that BKV was present in humans prior to the widespread use of polio vaccines, thus ruling out the possibility that BKV is an SV40-related monkey virus, introduced into the human population by accidental contamination of poliovirus vaccines.

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