Antibodies reacting to mimotopes of Simian virus 40 large T antigen, the viral oncoprotein, in sera from children

Elisa Mazzoni, Francesca Frontini, John Charles Rotondo, Nunzia Zanotta, Arianna Fioravanti, Francesca Minelli, Elena Torreggiani, Giuseppina Campisciano, Annalisa Marcuzzi, Giovanni Guerra, Alberto Tommasini, Antoine Touzé, Fernanda Martini, Mauro Tognon, Manola Comar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent data indicate that the Simian virus 40 (SV40) infection appears to be transmitted in humans independently from early SV40-contaminated antipolio vaccines. Serum antibodies against SV40 large T antigen (Tag) were analyzed in children/adolescents and young adults. To investigate antibodies reacting to SV40 Tag antigens, serum samples (n = 812) from children and young adults were analyzed by indirect ELISAs using specific SV40 Tag mimotopes. Mimotopes were synthetic peptides corresponding to SV40 Tag epitopes. In sera (n = 412) from healthy children up to 17 years old, IgG antibodies against SV40 Tag mimotopes reached an overall prevalence of 15%. IgM antibodies against SV40 Tag were detected in sera of children 6–8 months old confirming and extending the knowledge that SV40 seroconversion occurs early in life. In children/adolescents affected by different diseases (n = 180) SV40 Tag had a prevalence of 18%, being the difference no significant compared to healthy subjects (n = 220; 16%) of the same age. Our immunological data indicate that SV40 circulates in children and young adults, both in healthy conditions and affected by distinct diseases. The IgM detection in sera from healthy children suggests that the SV40 infection/seroconversion occurs early in life (>6 months). Our immunological data support the hypothesis that SV40, or a closely related still unknown polyomavirus, infects humans. The SV40 seroprevalence is lower than common polyomaviruses, such as BKPyV and JCPyV, and other new human polyomaviruses. In addition, our immunological surveillance indicates a lack of association between different diseases, considered herein, and SV40.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3170-3179
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2019


  • antibody
  • child
  • disease
  • immunity
  • prevalence
  • SV40
  • Tag

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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