Receptor-Binding and Oncogenic Properties of Polyoma Viruses Isolated from Feral Mice

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Receptor-Binding and Oncogenic Properties of Polyoma Viruses Isolated from Feral Mice

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Title: Receptor-Binding and Oncogenic Properties of Polyoma Viruses Isolated from Feral Mice
Author: Carroll, John; Dey, Dilip; Kreisman, Lori; Telford, Samuel; Velupillai, Palanivel; Dahl, Jean Stokes; Bronson, Roderick Terry; Benjamin, Thomas L.

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Citation: Carroll, John, Dilip Dey, Lori Kreisman, Palanivel Velupillai, Jean Stokes Dahl, Samuel Telford, Roderick Terry Bronson, and Thomas L. Benjamin. 2007. Receptor-binding and oncogenic properties of polyoma viruses isolated from feral mice. PLoS Pathogens 3(12): e179.
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Abstract: Laboratory strains of the mouse polyoma virus differ markedly in their abilities to replicate and induce tumors in newborn mice. Major determinants of pathogenicity lie in the sialic binding pocket of the major capsid protein Vp1 and dictate receptor-binding properties of the virus. Substitutions at two sites in Vp1 define three prototype strains, which vary greatly in pathogenicity. These strains replicate in a limited fashion and induce few or no tumors, cause a disseminated infection leading to the development of multiple solid tumors, or replicate and spread acutely causing early death. This investigation was undertaken to determine the Vp1 type(s) of new virus isolates from naturally infected mice. Compared with laboratory strains, truly wild-type viruses are constrained with respect to their selectivity and avidity of binding to cell receptors. Fifteen of 15 new isolates carried the Vp1 type identical to that of highly tumorigenic laboratory strains. Upon injection into newborn laboratory mice, the new isolates induced a broad spectrum of tumors, including ones of epithelial as well as mesenchymal origin. Though invariant in their Vp1 coding sequences, these isolates showed considerable variation in their regulatory sequences. The common Vp1 type has two essential features: 1) failure to recognize “pseudoreceptors” with branched chain sialic acids binding to which would attenuate virus spread, and 2) maintenance of a hydrophobic contact with true receptors bearing a single sialic acid, which retards virus spread and avoids acute and potentially lethal infection of the host. Conservation of these receptor-binding properties under natural selection preserves the oncogenic potential of the virus. These findings emphasize the importance of immune protection of neonates under conditions of natural transmission.
Published Version: doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.0030179
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