JC virus DNAs derived from the urine of nonimmunosuppressed individuals generally contain an archetypal regulatory region which may have generated various regulatory regions of JC virus isolates from the brain with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). In this study, we examined whether JC virus persisting in normal human kidney tissue contains the archetypal regulatory region. Renal medulla, cortex, and tumor from 32 patients bearing renal tumors were screened for JC virus DNA by blot hybridization. Viral DNA was detected in the medulla in 13 cases (41 %), in the cortex in 2 cases (6%), but not at all from the tumor. A number of viral DNA-positive specimens (8 from the medulla and 2 from the cortex) were used to amplify and sequence viral regulatory regions by polymerase chain reaction. Structures of the regulatory regions from all the specimens were, with a few nucleotide variations, identical with that of the archetypal region which was previously detected in the JC virus DNA from urine. This finding supports the hypothesis that the JC virus associated with PML evolved from the archetypal JC virus during persistence in human hosts. Furthermore, we present evidence that renal JCV is replicating and that progeny virions are excreted into the urine. © 1992.
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