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Am J Kidney Dis. 2001 Aug;38(2):354-65.

Molecular genotyping of BK and JC viruses in human polyomavirus-associated interstitial nephritis after renal transplantation.

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Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


The human polyomaviruses BK virus (BKV) and JC virus (JCV) have been linked to ureteric stenosis and allograft interstitial nephritis, but molecular characterization of the species involved has not been performed. We studied paraffin-embedded renal tissue from 19 cases of allograft viral interstitial nephritis. Histological sections were subjected to polymerase chain reaction amplification using consensus, BKV-, and JCV-specific primers, with subsequent DNA sequencing for strain determination. BKV was present in all (100%) interstitial nephritis kidneys and placed in genotypes corresponding to serological groups I (n = 11), II (n = 1), and IV (n = 5). Fourteen of 17 isolates (82%) showed sequence variations in the viral capsid protein-1 (VP1) capsid region, with predicted changes in the encoded amino acids and sometimes with potential implications for the secondary and tertiary structure of the corresponding protein molecules. An additional case showed a previously reported glutamine-->leucine T-antigen region mutation. JCV was seen in seven interstitial nephritis kidneys (37%), with types 4 (n = 3), 3A (n = 2), and 2A (n = 1) identified. Most white individuals with asymptomatic infection are reported to shed type 1 JCV in the urine. Simian 40 polyomavirus was not identified in any case. These observations may have pathogenic relevance to the development of an extremely refractory form of polyomavirus interstitial nephritis seen after kidney transplantation.

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