New strain of simian immunodeficiency virus identified in wild-born chimpanzees from central Africa.

Abstract : Studies of primate lentiviruses continue to provide information about the evolution of simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) and the origin and emergence of HIV since chimpanzees in west-central Africa (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) were recognized as the reservoir of SIVcpzPtt viruses, which have been related phylogenetically to HIV-1. Using in-house peptide ELISAs to study SIV prevalence, we tested 104 wild-born captive chimpanzees from Gabon and Congo. We identified two new cases of SIVcpz infection in Gabon and characterized a new SIVcpz strain, SIVcpzPtt-Gab4. The complete sequence (9093 bp) was obtained by a PCR-based 'genome walking' approach to generate 17 overlapping fragments. Phylogenetic analyses of separated genes (gag, pol-vif and env-nef) showed that SIVcpzPtt-Gab4 is closely related to SIVcpzPtt-Gab1 and SIVcpzPtt-Gab2. No significant variation in viral load was observed during 3 years of follow-up, but a significantly lower CD4+ T cells count was found in infected than in uninfected chimpanzees (p<0.05). No clinical symptoms of SIV infection were observed in the SIV-positive chimpanzees. Further field studies with non-invasive methods are needed to determine the prevalence, geographic distribution, species association, and natural history of SIVcpz strains in the chimpanzee habitat in Gabon.
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Sandrine Souquière, Maria Makuwa, Bettina Sallé, Mirdad Kazanji. New strain of simian immunodeficiency virus identified in wild-born chimpanzees from central Africa.. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2012, 7 (9), pp.e44298. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0044298⟩. ⟨pasteur-00734476⟩

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