BK polyomavirus (BKV) is ubiquitous among humans, infecting children asymptomatically and then persisting in renal tissue. BKV has four subtypes (I–IV) that can be identified by serological and genotyping methods. Subtypes I and IV are most prevalent in all countries examined to date. Based on nucleotide sequence variation, subtype I is further classified into four subgroups (Ia, Ib-1, Ib-2 and Ic), each of which have a close relationship to a particular human population. To clarify the relationships between BKV and human populations, we investigated the distribution patterns of BKV subtypes and subgroups in the modern Japanese population, which was formed from two distinct ethnic groups. Urine samples were collected from immunocompetent elderly patients in six regions along the Japanese Archipelago. The 287-bp VP1 region of the viral genome from these samples was amplified using the polymerase chain reaction. The amplified VP1 regions were sequenced and a neighbor-joining phylogenetic tree was reconstructed to classify the BKV isolates. We observed a similar pattern of subtype distribution throughout the Japanese Archipelago, with subtype I always detected at high rates (67–75%), followed by subtype IV (19–31%), with rare or no detection of subtypes II and III. Based on phylogenetic and single nucleotide polymorphism analyses, the subtype I isolates were divided into subgroups; the percentage of the Ic subgroup was high in all geographic regions (88–100%). These results suggest that BKV subtypes and subgroups are evenly distributed in the Japanese Archipelago. We discuss the implications of these findings for the relationships between BKV and human populations.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 1, 2007
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