Most of merkel cell carcinomas (MCC), a rare, aggressive skin cancer with neuroendocrine features, harbor merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV). Seroepidemiological studies suggested high prevalence of MCPyV in the human population. More than ten sequence data on MCPyV strains in Japan have been available, whereas most sequence data were detected from patients living in Europe or European ancestry. Analysis of nine almost complete and 19 partial sequences from two oncogenes, small T antigen (ST) and large T antigen (LT) genomes obtained from 32 Japanese MCPyV-infected MCC revealed that each Japanese MCPyV-infected MCC harbored a specific MCPyV strain with some synonymous or, silent mutations and stop codons or deletions, but functional domains of T antigen had no amino acid changes. All stop codons were localized after retinoblastoma protein-binding domain. These Japanese MCPyV strains were very closely interrelated to themselves and a consensus sequence of Japanese strain was generated. Phylogenetic analysis of our nine sequences and 70 other sequences for ST and LT gene registered in GenBank indicated that Japanese or Asian MCPyV strains formed distinct clades from Caucasian clade, and phylogenetic tree of our nine and 75 other sequences for ST gene formed characteristic three clades and showed that all Japanese or Asian strains were included in the dominant clade. These suggested the possibility of geographically related genotypes of MCPyV. The genomic characterization of MCPyV variants will provide an important database and insights for illuminating their evolutional and biological differences.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology