An Antibody Response to Human Polyomavirus 15-mer Peptides is Highly Abundant in Healthy Human Subjects

Stuyver et al., Virology Journal (2013) - PMID: 23758776

Product(s) used in this publication:  PepStar™ Peptide Microarrays



Human polyomaviruses (HPyV) infections cause mostly unapparent or mild primary infections, followed by lifelong nonpathogenic persistence. HPyV, and specifically JCPyV, are known to co-diverge with their host, implying a slow rate of viral evolution and a large timescale of virus/host co-existence. Recent bio-informatic reports showed a large level of peptide homology between JCPyV and the human proteome. In this study, the antibody response to PyV peptides is evaluated.


The in-silico analysis of the HPyV proteome was followed by peptide microarray serology. A HPyV-peptide microarray containing 4,284 peptides was designed and covered 10 polyomavirus proteomes. Plasma samples from 49 healthy subjects were tested against these peptides.


In-silico analysis of all possible HPyV 5-mer amino acid sequences were compared to the human proteome, and 1,609 unique motifs are presented. Assuming a linear epitope being as small as a pentapeptide, on average 9.3% of the polyomavirus proteome is unique and could be recognized by the host as non-self. Small t Ag (stAg) contains a significantly higher percentage of unique pentapeptides. Experimental evidence for the presence of antibodies against HPyV 15-mer peptides in healthy subjects resulted in the following observations: i) antibody responses against stAg were significantly elevated, and against viral protein 2 (VP2) significantly reduced; and ii) there was a significant correlation between the increasing number of embedded unique HPyV penta-peptides and the increase in microarray fluorescent signal.


The anti-peptide HPyV-antibodies in healthy subjects are preferably directed against the penta-peptide derived unique fraction of the viral proteome.

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