Polyomaviruses and Human Diseases

Volume 577 of the series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology pp 102-116

Human Polyomavirus JC and BK Persistent Infection

  • Kristina DoerriesAffiliated withInstitute for Virology and Immunobiology, University of Wuerzburg

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Primary contact with the human polyomaviruses (HPV) is followed by lifelong persistence of viral DNA in its host. The most prominent organs affected are the kidney, the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the hematopoietic system. Under impairment of immune competence limited activation of virus infection can be followed by prolonged virus multiplication, severe destruction of tissue and disease. The mechanisms responsible for activation episodes of the asymptomatic persistent infection are not understood and questions on cellular localization, routes of dissemination of HPV infection and its activation are controversially discussed. The type of interaction of HPVs with target organs and patients groups is highly differentiated. Organ-specific activation above basic level argues for strong dependence on the respective immune states of risk group patients. However, since immune impairment generally plays an important role in the activation of polyomavirus infection, amplification of virus deoxyribonudeic acid (DNA) and activation of virus replication is also a normal event that is probably subject to immunomodulation in the healthy individual. It also becomes clear that BKV and JCV infection is differentially regulated by mechanisms depending on the balance of immune control as well as on organ-specific signalling.