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J Gen Virol. 2006 Jul;87(Pt 7):1893-901.

Subtype I BK polyomavirus strains grow more efficiently in human renal epithelial cells than subtype IV strains.

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Department of Microbiology, Kobe Institute of Health, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0046, Japan.


BK polyomavirus (BKPyV) is ubiquitous in human populations, infecting children without obvious symptoms and persisting in the kidney. BKPyV isolates have been classified into four subtypes (I-IV) using either serological or genotyping methods. In general, subtype I occurs most frequently, followed by subtype IV, with subtypes II and III rarely detected. As differences in growth capacity in human cells possibly determine the proportion of the four subtypes of BKPyV in human populations, here the growth properties of representative BKPyV strains classified as subtype I or IV in renal proximal tubule epithelial cells (HPTE cells) of human origin were analysed. HPTE cells were transfected with four and three full-length BKPyV DNAs belonging to subtypes I and IV, respectively, and cultivated in growth medium. Virus replication, detected using the haemagglutination assay, was observed in all HPTE cells transfected with subtype I BKPyV DNAs, whereas it was markedly delayed or not detected in those transfected with subtype IV BKPyV DNAs. It was confirmed that the transfected viral DNAs induced virus replication in HPTE cells. Furthermore, it was found that BKPyVs with archetypal transcriptional control regions replicated in HPTE cells, with only the occasional emergence of variants carrying rearranged transcriptional control regions. Essentially the same results as described above were obtained with renal epithelial cells derived from whole kidney. Thus, it was concluded that subtype I BKPyV replicates more efficiently than subtype IV BKPyV in human renal epithelial cells, supporting the hypothesis that growth capacity in human cells is related to the proportion of BKPyV subtypes in human populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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