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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Jun 22;96(13):7484-9.

JC virus DNA is present in the mucosa of the human colon and in colorectal cancers.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, 4028 Basic Science Building, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA, 92093-0688, USA.


JC virus (JCV) is a polyoma virus that commonly infects humans. We have found T antigen DNA sequences of JCV in the mucosa of normal human colons, colorectal cancers, colorectal cancer xenografts raised in nude mice, and in the human colon cancer cell line SW480. A larger number of viral copies is present in cancer cells than in non-neoplastic colon cells, and sequence microheterogeneity occurs within individual colonic mucosal specimens. The improved yield of detection after treatment with topoisomerase I suggests that the viral DNA is negatively supercoiled in the human tissues. These results indicate that JCV DNA can be found in colonic tissues, which raises the possibility that this virus may play a role in the chromosomal instability observed in colorectal carcinogenesis.

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