Complete genome of a JC virus genotype type 6 from the brain of an African American with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy

J Hum Virol. 1998 May-Jun;1(4):267-72.


Objectives: The major genotypes of the human polyomavirus JC (JCV) include type 1 (European), type 2 (Asian), type 3 (African), and type 4 (United States). Here we report characterization of the complete genome of a genotype obtained from the brain of an African American with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).

Study design/methods: DNA extracted from JCV-infected brain tissue was subjected to whole-genome polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and direct cycle sequencing. Relations to other JCV genotypes and the predicted amino acid sequence were analyzed.

Results: This African-American type 6 strain (#601) differs from strains of all other genotypes in about 2% of its DNA sequence. The length of the total coding region of strain #601 is increased to 4855 bp by the insertion of a single nucleotide in the large T-antigen intron. This strain, originally placed with the type 2 group on the basis of its sequence in the VT-intergenic region, is very closely related to strains recently identified in the urine of individuals from Ghana, West Africa.

Conclusions: This is the first example of an African JCV genotype identified in the brain of an African-American PML patient. The extent of sequence divergence of JCV type 6 suggests a split of type 6 strains before the separation of types 2 and 3. These findings confirm that distinctive African genotypes of JCV have been maintained in the African-American population and that they are capable of causing PML.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Base Sequence
  • Brain / virology*
  • Female
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Leukoencephalopathy, Progressive Multifocal / complications
  • Leukoencephalopathy, Progressive Multifocal / virology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / virology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Polyomavirus / genetics*
  • Polyomavirus / isolation & purification

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF015537
  • GENBANK/AF015538