JC virus encephalopathy (JCVE) is a newly described gray matter disease of the brain caused by productive infection of cortical pyramidal neurons. We characterized the full length sequence of JCV isolated from the brain of a JCVE patient, analyzed its distribution in various compartments by PCR, and determined viral gene expression in the brain by immunohistochemistry(IHC). We identified a novel JCV variant, JCV CPN1, with a unique 143 bp deletion in the Agno gene encoding a truncated 10 amino acid peptide, and harboring an archetype-like regulatory region. This variant lacked one of three nuclear protein binding regions in the Agno gene. It was predominant in the brain, where it coexisted with an Agno-intact wild-type strain. Double immunostaining with anti-Agno and anti- VP1 antibodies demonstrated that the truncated JCV CPN1 Agno peptide was present in the majority of cortical cells productively infected with JCV. We then screened 68 DNA samples from 8 brain, 30 CSF and 30 PBMC samples of PML patients, HIV+ and HIV- control subjects. Another JCV CPN strain with a different pattern of Agno-deletion was found in the CSF of an HIV+/PML patient, where it also coexisted with wild-type, Agno-intact JCV. These findings suggest that the novel tropism for cortical pyramidal neurons of JCV CPN1, may be associated with the Agno deletion. Productive and lytic infection of these cells, resulting in fulminant JCV encephalopathy and death may have been facilitated by the co-infection with a wild- type strain of JCV.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)