To investigate polyomavirus infection in wild rodents, we analysed DNA samples from the spleens of 100 wild rodents from Zambia using a broad-spectrum PCR-based assay. A previously unknown polyomavirus genome was identified in a sample from a multimammate mouse ( species) and the entire viral genome of 4899 bp was subsequently sequenced. This viral genome contained potential ORFs for the capsid proteins, VP1, VP2 and VP3, and early proteins, small t antigen and large T antigen. Phylogenetic analysis showed that it was a novel member of the family , and thus the virus was tentatively named mastomys polyomavirus. After transfection of the viral genome into several mammalian cell lines, transient expression of the VP1 and large T antigen proteins was confirmed by immunoblotting and immunocytochemical analyses. Comparison of large T antigen function in mastomys polyomavirus with that in rhesus monkey polyomavirus SV40 and human polyomavirus JC virus revealed that the large T antigen from mastomys polyomavirus interacted with the tumour suppressor protein pRb, but not with p53.


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vol. , part 4, pp. 789 - 795

GenBank accession numbers of protein sequences used in this study [PDF](16 KB)


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