Simian immunodeficiency virus infection in wild-caught chimpanzees from Cameroon

E Nerrienet, M L Santiago, Y F Foupouapouognigni, E Bailes, N I Mundy, B Njinku, A Kfutwah, M C Muller-Trutwin, F Barre-Sinoussi, G M Shaw, P M Sharp, B H Hahn, A Ayouba

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Simian immunodeficiency viruses (SlVcpz) infecting chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in west central Africa are the closest relatives to all major variants of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 ([HIV-1]; groups M, N and O), and have thus been implicated as the source of the human infections; however, information concerning the prevalence, geographic distribution, and subspecies association of SIVcpz still remains limited. In this study, we tested 71 wild-caught chimpanzees from Cameroon for evidence of SIVcpz infection. Thirty-nine of these were of the central subspecies (Pan troglodytes troglodytes), and 32 were of the Nigerian subspecies (Pan troglodytes vellerosus), as determined by mitochondrial DNA analysis. Serological analysis determined that one P. t. troglodytes ape (CAM13) harbored serum antibodies that cross-reacted strongly with HIV-1 antigens; all other apes were seronegative. To characterize the newly identified virus, 14 partially overlapping viral fragments were amplified from fecal virion RNA and concatenated to yield a complete SIVcpz genome (9,284 bp). Phylogenetic analyses revealed that SIVcpzCAM13 fell well within the radiation of the SlVcpzPtt group of viruses, as part of a clade including all other SIVcpzPtt strains as well as HIV-1 groups M and N. However, SIVcpzCAM13 clustered most closely with SIVcpzGAB1 from Gabon rather than with SIVcpzCAM3 and SfVcpzCAM5 from Cameroon, indicating the existence of divergent SlVcpzPtt lineages within the same geographic region. These data, together with evidence of recombination among ancestral SlVcpzPtt lineages, indicate long-standing endemic infection of central chimpanzees and reaffirm a west central African origin of HIV-1. Whether P. t. vellerosus apes are naturally infected with SIVcpz requires further study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1312-1319
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005

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