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New Microbiol. 2011 Jan;34(1):1-8. Epub 2011 Jan 15.

The novel KI, WU, MC polyomaviruses: possible human pathogens?

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Laboratory of Molecular Virology, Foundation Polyclinic Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.


Recently, three novel human polyomaviruses KIPyV, WUPyV and MCPyV were uncovered in biological specimens of patients with different underlying clinical conditions. Although it is too early to draw firm conclusions on their role in human pathology, this finding has revitalized the scientific debate on the Polyomaviridae family and their relation to human disease. Seroepidemiological studies showed that, similarly to BKPyV and JCPyV, benign primary exposure to these new viruses occurs early in childhood. The viruses then remain latent in the body, and reactivate in immunosuppressed patients with possible pathological consequences. Furthermore, the discovery of MCPyV in a rare and aggressive skin cancer named Merckel cell carcinoma and its clonal integration within the tumor genome suggests that MCPyV infection may represent an early event in the pathogenesis of this disease. This review describes the general aspects of human polyomavirus infection and pathogenesis. Current topics of investigation and future directions in the field are also discussed.

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