Human polyomavirus BK-like isolates were subjected to restriction endonuclease analysis with the enzymes EcoRI and Hind III. End-point dilution was used to obtain homogeneous virus pools for DNA analysis and to remove JC virus from a mixed stock. The results of Hind III digestion suggested that two subgroups could be distinguished.
Several BK-like isolates were purified and rabbit antisera raised. The isolates were compared with each other and with BK and JC viruses by haemagglutination-inhibition (HI) and by neutralisation. JC virus was serologically distinct, but all the other isolates showed some crossreactivity. Two subgroups were again evident: GS and PG were with prototype BK in subgroup 1, and MG and IV were in subgroup 2. Two isolates, AS and SB, reacted with isolates of both subgroups 1 and 2 but were distinct from one another: their genome was similar to subgroup 1 isolates. Typing by HI or by neutralisation may form a basis for grouping BK-like polyomavirus isolates.