Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 8259665
Virology 1994 Jan; 198(1): 297-310
A study of simian T-cell lymphoma/leukemia virus infection, conducted on 747 nonhuman primates belonging to 14 different species in Central and Western Africa, indicated that 4 species (Cercopithecus aethiops, Erythrocebus patas, Papio doguera, and Cercopithecus mona pogonias) had a high prevalence of seropositivity to simian T-cell lymphoma/leukemia virus type I (STLV-I). The other nonhuman primate species, however, had negative or low levels of anti-HTLV-I antibodies. STLV-I pol and env DNA was detected in 12 of 12 different animals among the seropositive species. However, STLV-I pX DNA could be detected in only 10 of 12 animals. Comparative phylogenetic analyses based on 140 bp sequence of the pol gene indicate that these STLV-I isolates were 0-9% divergent from each other and were 3.5-7% divergent from the prototype related human retrovirus HTLV-I (ATK). The West African STLV-I isolates formed a unique phylogenetic cluster as did most of the Central African STLV-I isolates, save for STLV-I (Tan 90). The phylogenetic data indicate that cross species transmission of HTLV-I and STLV-I continued to occur long after their ancestral strain separated from the progenitor to HTLV-II. Comparative amino acid analyses indicated that there was marked conservation of the TAX protein regardless of host species, while the pol and REX proteins exhibited increasing levels of diversity.