Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 18456423
Pathol. Biol. 2009 Mar;57(2):161-6
Human T cell leukemia/lymphoma virus Type 1 and 2 (HTLV-1 and HTLV-2), together with their simian counterparts (STLV-1, STLV-2), belong to the Primate T lymphotropic viruses group (PTLV). HTLV-1 infects 15 to 20million people worldwide, while STLV-1 is endemic in a number of simian or ape species living in Africa or Asia. The high percentage of homologies between HTLV-1 and STLV-1 strains, led to the demonstration that most HTLV-1 subtypes arose from interspecies transmission between monkeys and humans. STLV-3 viruses belong to the third PTLV type and are equally divergent from HTLV-1 than from HTLV-2. They are endemic in several monkey species that live in West, Central, and East Africa. In 2005, we and others reported the discovery of the human homolog (HTLV-3) of STLV-3 in two asymptomatic inhabitants from South Cameroon whose sera exhibited HTLV indeterminate serologies. More recently, we reported a third case of HTLV-3 infection in Cameroon suggesting that this virus is not rare in the human population living in Central Africa. Together with STLV-3, these three human viral strains belong therefore to the PTLV-3 type. A fourth HTLV type (HTLV-4) was also discovered in the same geographical area. Current studies are aimed at determining the prevalence, distribution and modes of transmission of these viruses as well as their possible association with human diseases. Furthermore, molecular characterization of their viral transactivator Tax is ongoing in order to look for possible oncogenic properties.