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Pathology Research International
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 123491, 12 pages
Review Article

Human Polyomaviruses in Skin Diseases

1Institute of Medical Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø, 9037 Tromsø, Norway
2Department of Medical Genetics, University Hospital of Northern-Norway, 9038 Tromsø, Norway

Received 28 February 2011; Accepted 29 June 2011

Academic Editor: Gerardo Ferrara

Copyright © 2011 Ugo Moens et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Polyomaviruses are a family of small, nonenveloped viruses with a circular double-stranded DNA genome of ∼5,000 base pairs protected by an icosahedral protein structure. So far, members of this family have been identified in birds and mammals. Until 2006, BK virus (BKV), JC virus (JCV), and simian virus 40 (SV40) were the only polyomaviruses known to circulate in the human population. Their occurrence in individuals was mainly confirmed by PCR and the presence of virus-specific antibodies. Using the same methods, lymphotropic polyomavirus, originally isolated in monkeys, was recently shown to be present in healthy individuals although with much lower incidence than BKV, JCV, and SV40. The use of advanced high-throughput sequencing and improved rolling circle amplification techniques have identified the novel human polyomaviruses KI, WU, Merkel cell polyomavirus, HPyV6, HPyV7, trichodysplasia spinulosa-associated polyomavirus, and HPyV9. The skin tropism of human polyomaviruses and their dermatopathologic potentials are the focus of this paper.