To investigate the origin of human T-lymphotropic virus I (HTLV-I), strains of diverse geographical origin were analysed. We sequenced the LTR and genes of HTLV-I strains from Brazil, Central African Republic, Taiwan and Zaire, and the simian T-lymphotropic virus type I (STLV-I) strain PHSu1 from a baboon from the Sukhumi primate centre. We performed phylogenetic analyses using neighbour-joining, parsimony and maximum likelihood methods. Three separate HTLV-I clusters were identified interspersed between STLV-I clusters. The Brazilian and the Taiwanese strains were within the first well-supported cluster containing all cosmopolitan HTLV-I strains flanked by west African STLV-I strains. The HTLV-I strains from Central African Republic and Zaire fell into a central African cluster close to the chimpanzee STLV-I isolates. The third well-supported cluster included all Melanesian HTLV-I strains and had Indonesian STLV-I strains as closest neighbours. Therefore, currently known HTLV-I strains represent three HTLV-I subtypes that most probably have originated from three geographically distinct interspecies transmission events. The highly divergent PHSu1, isolated from , was closely related to PCY-991, isolated from , both from the Sukhumi primate centre. Both clustered together with Asian wild-caught rhesus macaque STLV-I strains suggesting recent interspecies transmission of virus from rhesus macaques to colony-bred African baboons at the Sukhumi primate centre. In the rooted trees obtained using the STLV strain PH969 as an outgroup, the Asian strains branched off before the African strains, implying an Asian origin for HTLV/STLV type I based on presently available strains.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Most cited this month Most Cited RSS feed

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error