To examine polyomavirus (PyV) infection in wildlife, we investigated the presence of PyVs in Zambia with permission from the Zambia Wildlife Authority. We analysed 200 DNA samples from the spleens and kidneys (n5100 each) of yellow baboons and vervet monkeys (VMs) (n550 each). We detected seven PyV genome fragments in 200 DNA samples using a nested broadspectrum PCR method, and identified five full-length viral genomes using an inverse PCR method. Phylogenetic analysis of virally encoded proteins revealed that four PyVs were closely related to either African green monkey PyV or simian agent 12. Only one virus detected from a VM spleen was found to be related, with relatively low nucleotide sequence identity (74 %), to the chimpanzee PyV, which shares 48% nucleotide sequence identity with the human Merkel cell PyV identified from Merkel cell carcinoma. The obtained entire genome of this virus was 5157 bp and had large T- and small t-antigens, and VP1 and VP2 ORFs. This virus was tentatively named vervet monkey PyV 1 (VmPyV1) as a novel PyV. Comparison with other PyVs revealed that VmPyV1, like chimpanzee PyV, had a longer VP1 ORF. To examine whether the VmPyV1 genome could produce viral proteins in cultured cells, the whole genome was transfected into HEK293T cells. We detected VP1 protein expression in the transfected HEK293T cells by immunocytochemical and immunoblot analyses. Thus, we identified a novel PyV genome from VM spleen.
ASJC Scopus subject areas