Genome-wide profiling of BK polyomavirus integration in bladder cancer of kidney transplant recipients reveals mechanisms of the integration at the nucleotide level

Bladder Cancer

Oncogene. 2020 Oct 13. doi: 10.1038/s41388-020-01502-w. Online ahead of print.


Chronic BK polyomavirus (BKPyV) infection is recognized as a potential oncogenic factor of urothelial carcinoma (UC) in renal transplant recipients. Recent studies have reported a positive correlation among BKPyV integration, persistent overexpression of viral large T antigen (TAg), and malignancy, yet little is known about the specific integration mechanisms and the impacts of viral integration. Here, we performed whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and viral capture-based sequencing on high-grade

immunohistochemically TAg-positive UCs in two renal transplant recipients. A total of 181 integration sites, including the three found by WGS, were identified by viral capture-based sequencing, indicating its enhanced sensitivity and ability in identifying low-read integration sites in subpopulations of the tumor cells. The microhomologies between human and BKPyV genomes were significantly enriched in the flanking regions of 84.5% the integration sites, with a median length of 7 bp. Notably, 75 human genes formed fusion sequences due to viral insertional integration. Among them, the expression of 15 genes were statistically associated with UC based on GEO2R expression analysis. Our results indicated a multisite and multifragment linear integration pattern and a potential microhomology or nonhomologous end joining integration mechanism at the single-nucleotide level. We put forward a potential selection mechanism driven by immunity and centered on viral integration in the carcinogenesis of BKPyV.