A renewed interest in the emergence and evolution of the primate T-cell lymphotropic viruses has followed the discovery of genetically distinct variants of human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) in Melanesia and Australia. Phylogenetic trees based on selected regions of the gag, pol, env and pX genes of HTLV-I from widely separated geographic regions and of simian T-cell lymphotropic virus type I (STLV-I) from African and Asian catarrhines, constructed using the neighbor-joining and maximum parsimony methods, indicated that the Australo-Melanesian and cosmopolitan strains of HTLV-I have evolved along separate geographically dependent lineages, with African STLV-I strains clustering with cosmopolitan HTLV-I strains and Asian STLV-I strains diverging from the common ancestral virus before the Australo-Melanesian HTLV-I strains. When viewed within the context of non-human primate evolution and human occupation of Australia and Melanesia, the rate of molecular change of HTLV-I and STLV-I is approximately 2.5-6.8 x 10(-7) substitutions per site per year. Overall, the sequence and phylogenetic analyses are in accord with interspecies virus transmission among non-human primates, as well as between non-human primates and humans, with independent evolution of HTLV-I in Southeast Asia and in Africa, and with dissemination of HTLV-I by forced or voluntary movements of human populations. The immunosuppressive and T-cell activation properties of HTLV-I places at added risk these Australian Aboriginal and Melanesian populations, some of which are in imminent threat of infection with human immunodeficiency virus type 1.
|Journal||Cellular and molecular biology (Noisy-le-Grand, France)|
|Volume||41 Suppl 1|
|Publication status||Published - 1995 Dec 1|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology