The biology of JC polyomavirus

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JC polyomavirus (JCPyV) is the causative agent of a fatal central nervous system demyelinating disease known as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). PML occurs in people with underlying immunodeficiency or in individuals being treated with potent immunomodulatory therapies. JCPyV is a DNA tumor virus with a double-stranded DNA genome and encodes a well-studied oncogene, large T antigen. Its host range is highly restricted to humans and only a few cell types support lytic infection in vivo or in vitro. Its oncogenic potential in humans has not been firmly established and the international committee on oncogenic viruses lists JCPyV as possibly carcinogenic. Significant progress has been made in understanding the biology of JCPyV and here we present an overview of the field and discuss some important questions that remain unanswered.

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