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Patholog Res Int. 2011;2011:123491. doi: 10.4061/2011/123491. Epub 2011 Sep 12.

Human polyomaviruses in skin diseases.

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Institute of Medical Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø, 9037 Tromsø, Norway.


Polyomaviruses are a family of small, nonenveloped viruses with a circular double-stranded DNA genome of ∼5,000 base pairs protected by an icosahedral protein structure. So far, members of this family have been identified in birds and mammals. Until 2006, BK virus (BKV), JC virus (JCV), and simian virus 40 (SV40) were the only polyomaviruses known to circulate in the human population. Their occurrence in individuals was mainly confirmed by PCR and the presence of virus-specific antibodies. Using the same methods, lymphotropic polyomavirus, originally isolated in monkeys, was recently shown to be present in healthy individuals although with much lower incidence than BKV, JCV, and SV40. The use of advanced high-throughput sequencing and improved rolling circle amplification techniques have identified the novel human polyomaviruses KI, WU, Merkel cell polyomavirus, HPyV6, HPyV7, trichodysplasia spinulosa-associated polyomavirus, and HPyV9. The skin tropism of human polyomaviruses and their dermatopathologic potentials are the focus of this paper.

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