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Open Access Diagnostic Polymerase Chain Reaction Assays for Identification of Murine Polyomaviruses in Biological Samples

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Purpose: Mouse polyoma virus and K virus are murine polyomaviruses frequently used in carcinogenicity and cellular biology studies in mice. These viruses can cause persistent infections, which increase the likelihood of transmission through transplantation of cells from infected mice. To identify polyomavirus-infected biological samples, several diagnostic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays were developed.

Methods: Polyomavirus-family and virus-specific PCR assays were designed and optimized for specificity and sensitivity. The generic (polyomavirus-family) PCR assay and mouse polyoma virus-specific assays were compared with the mouse bioassay for diagnosis of infected cellular samples.

Results: Specificity of the PCR assays was confirmed by testing a battery of other murine viruses. The mouse polyoma virus PCR test was the most sensitive assay, detecting as few as 2,000 copies of homologous virus. The K virus PCR assay was about eightfold less sensitive, and the generic PCR test was the least sensitive. Mouse polyoma virus and generic PCR assays amplified mouse polyoma virus in the inoculum and tissues from experimentally infected mice, and performed better than did the mouse bioassay.

Conclusions: Results of this study confirm that PCR is a specific and sensitive method for detection of murine polyomaviruses in biological samples.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University Laboratory Animal Resources, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104 2: Research Animal Diagnostic and Investigative Laboratory, Medical School Mail Room, MC6014, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211

Publication date: 01 April 2001

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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