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env sequences of simian immunodeficiency viruses from chimpanzees in Cameroon are strongly related to those of human immunodeficiency virus group N from the same geographic area


, : env sequences of simian immunodeficiency viruses from chimpanzees in Cameroon are strongly related to those of human immunodeficiency virus group N from the same geographic area. Journal of Virology 74(1): 529-534

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) group N from Cameroon is phylogenetically close, in env, to the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) cpz-gab from Gabon and SIVcpz-US of unknown geographic origin. We screened 29 wild-born Cameroonian chimpanzees and found that three (Cam3, Cam4, and Cam5) were positive for HIV-1 by Western blotting. Mitochondrial DNA sequence analysis demonstrated that Cam3 and Cam5 belonged to Pan troglodytes troglodytes and that Cam4 belonged to P. t. vellerosus. Genetic analyses of the viruses together with serological data demonstrated that at least one of the two P. t. troglodytes chimpanzees (Cam5) was infected in the wild, and revealed a horizontal transmission between Cam3 and Cam4. These data confirm that P. t. troglodytes is a natural host for HIV-1-related viruses. Furthermore, they show that SIVcpz can be transmitted in captivity, from one chimpanzee subspecies to another. All three SIVcpz-cam viruses clustered with HIV-1 N in env. The full Cam3 SIVcpz genome sequence showed a very close phylogenetic relationship with SIVcpz-US, a virus identified in a P. t. troglodytes chimpanzee captured nearly 40 years earlier. Like SIVcpz-US, SIVcpz-cam3 was closely related to HIV-1 N in env, but not in pol, supporting the hypothesis that HIV-1 N results from a recombination event. SIVcpz from chimpanzees born in the wild in Cameroon are thus strongly related in env to HIV-1 N from Cameroon, demonstrating the geographic coincidence of these human and simian viruses and providing a further strong argument in favor of the origin of HIV-1 being in chimpanzees.

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PMID: 10590144


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