A granule cell neuron-associated JC virus variant has a unique deletion in the VP1 gene

J Gen Virol. 2006 Sep;87(Pt 9):2533-2537. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.81945-0.


The human polyomavirus JC (JCV) typically infects glial cells and is the aetiological agent of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), which occurs in immunosuppressed individuals. The full-length sequence of a granule cell neuron-tropic JCV variant, JCV(GCN1), associated with lytic infection of granule cell neurons and cerebellar atrophy in a human immunodeficiency virus-infected patient with PML was determined and compared with the sequence of the JCV isolate from the classic PML lesions present in the hemispheric white matter of the same individual (JCV(HWM)). A unique deletion was found in the C terminus of the VP1 gene of JCV(GCN1), which encodes the major capsid protein, resulting in a frame shift and a total change of the C-terminal amino acid sequence of this protein. This deletion was not present in JCV(HWM), suggesting that this mutation may be instrumental in facilitating entry or replication of JCV into granule cell neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / virology
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Capsid Proteins / genetics*
  • Cerebellum / virology
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Genes, Viral*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • JC Virus / genetics*
  • JC Virus / pathogenicity
  • JC Virus / physiology
  • Leukoencephalopathy, Progressive Multifocal / complications
  • Leukoencephalopathy, Progressive Multifocal / virology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neurons / virology
  • Sequence Deletion


  • Capsid Proteins
  • DNA, Viral
  • VP1 protein, polyomavirus