Quantitation of human seroresponsiveness to Merkel cell polyomavirus

PLoS Pathogens
Diana V PastranaChristopher B Buck

Abstract

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a relatively uncommon but highly lethal form of skin cancer. A majority of MCC tumors carry DNA sequences derived from a newly identified virus called Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV or MCPyV), a candidate etiologic agent underlying the development of MCC. To further investigate the role of MCV infection in the development of MCC, we developed a reporter vector-based neutralization assay to quantitate MCV-specific serum antibody responses in human subjects. Our results showed that 21 MCC patients whose tumors harbored MCV DNA all displayed vigorous MCV-specific antibody responses. Although 88% (42/48) of adult subjects without MCC were MCV seropositive, the geometric mean titer of the control group was 59-fold lower than the MCC patient group (p<0.0001). Only 4% (2/48) of control subjects displayed neutralizing titers greater than the mean titer of the MCV-positive MCC patient population. MCC tumors were found not to express detectable amounts of MCV VP1 capsid protein, suggesting that the strong humoral responses observed in MCC patients were primed by an unusually immunogenic MCV infection, and not by viral antigen expressed by the MCC tumor itself. The occurrence of highly immunogenic MCV infecti...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

Malignant Neoplasm of Skin
Embryo
Neutralising Antibodies Analysis
Tumor Cells, Uncertain Whether Benign or Malignant
GBA wt Allele
Amidophosphoribosyltransferase
Ethanol
Human Papillomavirus
Transfection
Ethanol Measurement

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