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Concept: BK virus


In recent years the incidence of male infertility has increased. Many risk factors have been taken into consideration, including viral infections. Investigations into viral agents and male infertility have mainly been focused on human papillomaviruses, while no reports have been published on polyomaviruses and male infertility. The aim of this study was to verify whether JC virus and BK virus are associated with male infertility. Matched semen and urine samples from 106 infertile males and 100 fertile males, as controls, were analyzed. Specific PCR analyses were carried out to detect and quantify large T (Tag) coding sequences of JCV and BKV. DNA sequencing, carried out in Tag JCV-positive samples, was addressed to viral protein 1 (VP1) coding sequences. The prevalence of JCV Tag sequences in semen and urine samples from infertile males was 34% (72/212), whereas the BKV prevalence was 0.94% (2/212). Specifically, JCV Tag sequences were detected in 24.5% (26/106) of semen and 43.4% (46/106) of urine samples from infertile men. In semen and urine samples from controls the prevalence was 11% and 28%, respectively. A statistically significant difference (p<0.05) in JCV prevalence was disclosed in semen and urine samples of cases vs. controls. A higher JC viral DNA load was detected in samples from infertile males than in controls. In samples from infertile males the JC virus type 2 strain, subtype 2b, was more prevalent than ubiquitous type 1. JCV type 2 strain infection has been found to be associated with male infertility. These data suggest that the JC virus should be taken into consideration as an infectious agent which is responsible for male infertility.

Concepts: DNA, Infectious disease, Microbiology, Virus, Infection, BK virus, JC virus, Polyomavirus


Abstract Objective. BK virus (BKV)-induced viraemia after renal transplantation can be associated with severe impairment of graft function. This study evaluated possible risk factors for BKV replication and examined the outcomes following various currently used treatment approaches. Material and methods. Fifty-seven renal transplant recipients with BKV viraemia were retrospectively compared with 71 BKV-negative recipients to identify risk factors for BKV viraemia. Furthermore, outcome and graft function in 14 patients with BKV replication, in whom mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) was discontinued with a dose reduction of the remaining immunosuppressants, were compared with 32 patients in whom both MMF and the additional immunosuppressants were reduced. Results. Patients with BKV viraemia received MMF (p < 0.01) and triple immunosuppression (p < 0.01) significantly more often, and displayed tacrolimus (p = 0.034) at higher blood concentrations (p = 0.002), a lower lymphocyte count (p = 0.006) and a longer warm ischaemic time (p = 0.019), and were more often male (p = 0.026). Patients in whom MMF was stopped had a higher chance of clearance of BKV viraemia (p = 0.022), which was achieved more rapidly (p = 0.048). Graft function improved during treatment and no graft losses occurred, compared with eight graft losses in the MMF-treated group (p = 0.04). Conclusions. MMF and tacrolimus could promote BKV viraemia after renal transplantation. Discontinuation of MMF together with a reduction of calcineurin inhibitors and glucocorticoids could be an option to reduce BKV replication after renal transplantation.

Concepts: Kidney, Organ transplant, Kidney transplantation, Immunosuppressive drug, BK virus, JC virus, Mycophenolic acid, Polyomavirus


Polyomaviruses are ubiquitous, species-specific viruses belonging to the family Papovaviridae. The two most commonly known human polyomaviruses, BK virus and JC virus were first described in the 1970s. Newer human polyomaviruses, namely KI polyoma virus, WU polyoma virus and Merkel cell polyoma virus were identified in the last five years. Most humans encounter BK and JC virus during childhood, causing mild illness. However, when reactivated or acquired in the immunocompromised host, BK and JC virus have been implicated in a number of human clinical disease states. BK is most commonly associated with renal involvement, such as ureteral stenosis, hemorrhagic cystitis and nephropathy. Less commonly, it is associated with pneumonitis, retinitis, liver disease and meningoencephalitis. JC virus is most well known for its association with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, and is possibly implicated in the development of various human neoplasms. The following chapter will outline the basic virology, epidemiology and clinical manifestations of BK and JC virus and discuss relevant diagnostic and treatment options.

Concepts: AIDS, Virus, Viruses, Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, BK virus, JC virus, Polyomavirus, Polyomaviruses


Quantitative, viral load monitoring for BK virus (BKV) by real-time PCR is an important tool in the management of polyomavirus associated nephropathy in renal transplant patients. However, variability in PCR results has been reported because of polymorphisms in viral genes among different subtypes of BKV, and lack of standardization of the PCR assays among different laboratories. In this study we have compared the performance of several laboratory developed PCR assays that target highly conserved regions of BKV genome with a commercially available, RealStar(®) BKV PCR Kit.

Concepts: DNA, Polymerase chain reaction, Virus, Genome, BK virus, JC virus, Conserved sequence, Polyomavirus


ABSTRACT Polyomaviruses are ubiquitous pathogens that cause severe disease in immunocompromised individuals. JC polyomavirus (JCPyV) is the causative agent of the fatal demyelinating disease progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), whereas BK polyomavirus (BKPyV) causes polyomavirus-induced nephropathy and hemorrhagic cystitis. Vaccines or antiviral therapies targeting these viruses do not exist, and treatments focus on reducing the underlying causes of immunosuppression. We demonstrate that retro-2(cycl), an inhibitor of ricin and Shiga-like toxins (SLTs), inhibits infection by JCPyV, BKPyV, and simian virus 40. Retro-2(cycl) inhibits retrograde transport of polyomaviruses to the endoplasmic reticulum, a step necessary for productive infection. Retro-2(cycl) likely inhibits polyomaviruses in a way similar to its ricin and SLT inhibition, suggesting an overlap in the cellular host factors used by bacterial toxins and polyomaviruses. This work establishes retro-2(cycl) as a potential antiviral therapy that broadly inhibits polyomaviruses and possibly other pathogens that use retrograde trafficking. IMPORTANCE The human polyomaviruses JC polyomavirus (JCPyV) and BK polyomavirus (BKPyV) cause rare but severe diseases in individuals with reduced immune function. During immunosuppression, JCPyV disseminates from the kidney to the central nervous system and destroys oligodendrocytes, resulting in the fatal disease progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Kidney transplant recipients are at increased risk of BKPyV-induced nephropathy, which results in kidney necrosis and loss of the transplanted organ. There are currently no effective therapies for JCPyV and BKPyV. We show that a small molecule named retro-2(cycl) protects cells from infection with JCPyV and BKPyV by inhibiting intracellular viral transport. Retro-2(cycl) treatment reduces viral spreading in already established infections and may therefore be able to control infection in affected patients. Further optimization of retro-2(cycl) may result in the development of an effective antiviral therapy directed toward pathogens that use retrograde trafficking to infect their hosts.

Concepts: Immune system, Nervous system, Bacteria, Virus, Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, BK virus, JC virus, Polyomavirus


BK polyomavirus (BKPyV; hereafter referred to as BK) causes a lifelong chronic infection and is associated with debilitating disease in kidney transplant recipients. Despite its importance, aspects of the virus life cycle remain poorly understood. In addition to the structural proteins, the late region of the BK genome encodes for an auxiliary protein called agnoprotein. Studies on other polyomavirus agnoproteins have suggested that the protein may contribute to virion infectivity. Here, we demonstrate an essential role for agnoprotein in BK virus release. Viruses lacking agnoprotein fail to release from host cells and do not propagate to wild-type levels. Despite this, agnoprotein is not essential for virion infectivity or morphogenesis. Instead, agnoprotein expression correlates with nuclear egress of BK virions. We demonstrate that the agnoprotein binding partner α-soluble N-ethylmaleimide sensitive fusion (NSF) attachment protein (α-SNAP) is necessary for BK virion release, and siRNA knockdown of α-SNAP prevents nuclear release of wild-type BK virions. These data highlight a novel role for agnoprotein and begin to reveal the mechanism by which polyomaviruses leave an infected cell.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Virus, RNA, Viruses, BK virus, Polyomavirus


BK virus associated hemorrhagic cystitis (BK-HC) is a common complication after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HCT), with incidence up to 70%. Cidofovir is an antiviral agent with growing evidence as a therapeutic intervention.

Concepts: Virus, Bone marrow, Antiviral drug, Organ transplant, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, Antivirals, Hematopoietic stem cell, BK virus


Although identifying cytological viral inclusions (decoy cells) in the urine is relatively easy, distinguishing between Polyomaviruses BKV and JCV is not possible. Few studies have been published regarding JCV detection in kidney transplant recipients.

Concepts: Protein, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Diabetic nephropathy, Kidney transplantation, BK virus, JC virus


Studies have shown conflicting results on the prevalence and the risks of BK reactivation among pregnant women. In addition, the prevalence of vertical transmission and its clinical significance during pregnancy are not well studied.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, BK virus


BK virus hemorrhagic cystitis is a complication of HCST. Response to IV cidofovir is unpredictable, and treatment carries risk of toxicity. We report the largest series of pediatric patients with BKHC after HSCT successfully treated with intravesicular cidofovir. There was no significant decrease in urine or plasma BK PCR. There was significant decrease in pain score on days 3 and 7, with associated decrease in morphine use. No patients experienced toxicities associated with IV cidofovir. Intravesicular cidofovir appears to be safe and effective for symptomatic treatment of BKHC in pediatric patients after HSCT.

Concepts: DNA, Medical terms, Hematology, Hematopoietic stem cell, BK virus, Polyomavirus, Hemorrhagic cystitis