Genetic Diversity of the Noncoding Control Region of the Novel Human Polyomaviruses

U. Moens, C. Prezioso, V. Pietropaolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The genomes of polyomaviruses are characterized by their tripartite organization with an early region, a late region and a noncoding control region (NCCR). The early region encodes proteins involved in replication and transcription of the viral genome, while expression of the late region generates the capsid proteins. Transcription regulatory sequences for expression of the early and late genes, as well as the origin of replication are encompassed in the NCCR. Cell tropism of polyomaviruses not only depends on the appropriate receptors on the host cell, but cell-specific expression of the viral genes is also governed by the NCCR. Thus far, 15 polyomaviruses have been isolated from humans, though it remains to be established whether all of them are genuine human polyomaviruses (HPyVs). The sequences of the NCCR of these HPyVs show high genetic variability and have been best studied in the human polyomaviruses BK and JC. Rearranged NCCRs in BKPyV and JCPyV, the first HPyVs to be discovered approximately 30 years ago, have been associated with the pathogenic properties of these viruses in nephropathy and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, respectively. Since 2007, thirteen novel PyVs have been isolated from humans: KIPyV, WUPyV, MCPyV, HPyV6, HPyV7, TSPyV, HPyV9, HPyV10, STLPyV, HPyV12, NJPyV, LIPyV and QPyV. This review describes all NCCR variants of the new HPyVs that have been reported in the literature and discusses the possible consequences of NCCR diversity in terms of promoter strength, putative transcription factor binding sites and possible association with diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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