Viral Genomic Characterization and Replication Pattern of Human Polyomaviruses in Kidney Transplant Recipients

Lucia Signorini, Maria Dolci, Evaldo Favi, Caterina Colico, Mariano Ferraresso, Rosalia Ticozzi, Giuseppe Basile, Pasquale Ferrante, Serena Delbue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human Polyomavirus (HPyV) infections are common, ranging from 60% to 100%. In kidney transplant (KTx) recipients, HPyVs have been associated with allograft nephropathy, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, and skin cancer. Whether such complications are caused by viral reactivation or primary infection transmitted by the donor remains debated. This study aimed to investigate the replication pattern and genomic characterization of BK Polyomavirus (BKPyV), JC Polyomavirus (JCPyV), and Merkel Cell Polyomavirus (MCPyV) infections in KTx. Urine samples from 57 KTx donor/recipient pairs were collected immediately before organ retrieval/transplant and periodically up to post-operative day 540. Specimens were tested for the presence of BKPyV, JCPyV, and MCPyV genome by virus-specific Real-Time PCR and molecularly characterized. HPyVs genome was detected in 49.1% of donors and 77.2% of recipients. Sequences analysis revealed the archetypal strain for JCPyV, TU and Dunlop strains for BKPyV, and IIa-2 strain for MCPyV. VP1 genotyping showed a high frequency for JCPyV genotype 1 and BKPyV genotype I. Our experience demonstrates that after KTx, HPyVs genome remains stable over time with no emergence of quasi-species. HPyVs strains isolated in donor/recipient pairs are mostly identical, suggesting that viruses detected in the recipient may be transmitted by the allograft.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1280
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 9 2020


  • Human Polyomavirus BK (BKPyV), Merkel Cell Polyomavirus (MCPyV)
  • Human Polyomavirus JC (JCPyV)
  • kidney transplantation (KTx)
  • molecular characterization
  • urine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


Dive into the research topics of 'Viral Genomic Characterization and Replication Pattern of Human Polyomaviruses in Kidney Transplant Recipients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this