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History of discoveries and pathogenicity of TT viruses.

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Division of Virology, Department of Infection and Immunity, Jichi Medical University School of Medicine, 3311-1 Yakushiji, Shimotsuke-Shi, Tochigi-Ken 329-0498, Japan.


Since 1997, groups of novel nonenveloped DNA viruses with a circular, single-stranded (negative sense) DNA genome of 3.6-3.9 kb, 3.2 kb, or 2.8-2.9 kb in size have been discovered and designated Torque teno virus (TTV), Torque teno midi virus (TTMDV), and Torque teno mini virus (TTMV), respectively, in the floating genus Anellovirus. These three anelloviruses frequently and ubiquitously infect humans, and the infections are characterized by lifelong viremia and great genetic variability. Although TTV infection has been epidemiologically suggested to be associated with many diseases including liver diseases, respiratory disorders, hematological disorders, and cancer, there is no direct causal evidence for links between TTV infection and specific clinical diseases. The pathogenetic role of TTMV and TTMDV infections remains unknown. The changing ratio of the three anelloviruses to each other over time, relative viral load, or combination of different genotype(s) of each anellovirus may be associated with the pathogenicity or the disease-inducing potential of these three human anelloviruses. To clarify their disease association, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) systems for accurately detecting, differentiating, and quantitating all of the genotypes and/or genogroups of TTV, TTMDV, and TTMV should be established and standardized, as should methods to detect past infections and immunological responses to anellovirus infections.

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