Detection of TS polyomavirus DNA in tonsillar tissues of children and adults: evidence for site of viral latency

J Clin Virol. 2014 Jan;59(1):55-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2013.11.008. Epub 2013 Nov 27.


Background: The trichodysplasia spinulosa-associated polyomavirus (TSPyV), a recently discovered species of the family Polyomaviridae, is associated with development of trichodysplasia spinulosa (TS), a rare follicular skin disease of immunocompromised individuals. The viral seroprevalence in the general population is ∼70%, with little known of its route of transmission, latency, or primary infection site.

Objectives: We aimed to determine whether the viral DNA is detectable in tonsillar tissue of constitutionally healthy individuals, and what the corresponding antiviral seroreactivities are.

Study design: We tested 229 matched pairs of tonsillar tissue biopsies and serum samples from asymptomatic donors for TSPyV DNA by real-time quantitative PCR with primer pairs and Taq-Man probes targeting the VP1 and LT genes. The sera were studied by enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for TSPyV-VP1-IgG and the PCR-positive individuals also for -IgM and -IgG-avidity.

Results: TSPyV DNA was detectable in 8 (3.5%) of 229 tonsillar tissues, and in none of the corresponding sera. TSPyV IgG seroprevalence among children was 39% and among adults 70%. Each of the 8 PCR-positive subjects had antiviral IgG of high avidity but not IgM.

Conclusions: TSPyV PCR positivity of tonsillar samples of individuals with long-term immunity provides the first evidence of TSPyV in tonsils and suggests lymphoid tissue as a latency site of this emerging human pathogen.

Keywords: HPyV; Persistence; RNase P gene; Serology; TS; TSPyV; Tonsil; VLP; human polyomavirus family; qPCR; quantitative PCR; trichodysplasia spinulosa; trichodysplasia spinulosa-associated polyomavirus; virus like particle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Carrier State / virology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • DNA, Viral / isolation & purification*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palatine Tonsil / virology*
  • Polyomavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Polyomavirus / physiology*
  • Polyomavirus Infections / virology
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Virus Latency*
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • DNA, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M