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Virology. 2009 Mar 30;386(1):94-101. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2008.12.040. Epub 2009 Jan 31.

Viral regulatory region effects on vertical transmission of polyomavirus SV40 in hamsters.

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Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, MS: BCM385, Houston, TX 77030-3411, USA.


Viral strain differences influence the oncogenic potential of polyomavirus simian virus 40 (SV40). We hypothesized that viral strain differences might also affect vertical transmission of SV40 in susceptible hosts. Pregnant Syrian golden hamsters were inoculated intraperitoneally with 10(7) plaque-forming units of SV40 and offspring were sacrificed post-delivery (1-21 days, 6 months). Organ extracts were analyzed for SV40 DNA by polymerase chain reaction assay. Transmission of SV40 from mother to offspring was detected in over half of litters. Most placentas were virus-positive. Mothers inoculated with SV40 strains containing complex regulatory regions transmitted virus more frequently than those infected with simple enhancer viruses (p<0.001). Virus was detected more often in progeny brain than in spleen (p<0.05). Several progeny were virus-positive at 6 months of age, suggesting viral persistence. Maternal animals retained virus in several tissues through day 21 and developed T-antigen antibodies. These results indicate that SV40 replicates in hamsters, vertical transmission of SV40 can occur, and the viral regulatory region influences transmission.

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