Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 25187544
J. Virol. 2014 Nov;88(22):13212-20
Primates are naturally infected with herpesviruses. During the last 15 years, the search for homologues of human herpesviruses in nonhuman primates allowed the identification of numerous viruses belonging to the different herpesvirus subfamilies and genera. No simian homologue of human herpesvirus 7 (HHV7) has been reported to date. To investigate the putative existence of HHV7-like viruses in African great apes, we applied the consensus-degenerate hybrid oligonucleotide primers (CODEHOP) program-mediated PCR strategy to blood DNA samples from the four common chimpanzee subspecies (Pan troglodytes verus, P. t. ellioti, P. t. troglodytes, and P. t. schweinfurthii), pygmy chimpanzees (Pan paniscus), as well as lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). This study led to the discovery of a novel roseolovirus close to HHV7 in each of these nonhuman primate species and subspecies. Generation of the partial glycoprotein B (1,111-bp) and full-length DNA polymerase (3,036/3,042-bp) gene sequences allowed the deciphering of their evolutionary relationships. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that HHV7 and its African great ape homologues formed well-supported monophyletic lineages whose topological resemblance to the host phylogeny is suggestive of virus-host codivergence. Notably, the evolutionary branching points that separate HHV7 from African great ape herpesvirus 7 are remarkably congruent with the dates of divergence of their hosts. Our study shows that African great apes are hosts of human herpesvirus homologues, including HHV7 homologues, and that the latter, like other DNA viruses that establish persistent infections, have cospeciated with their hosts.