Identification and molecular characterization of new simian T cell lymphotropic viruses in nonhuman primates bushmeat from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
ABSTRACT: Four types of human T cell lymphotropic viruses (HTLV) have been described (HTLV-1 to HTLV-4) with three of them having closely related simian virus analogues named STLV-1, -2, and -3. To assess the risk of cross-species transmissions of STLVs from nonhuman primates to humans in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a total of 330 samples, derived from primate bushmeat, were collected at remote forest sites where people rely on bushmeat for subsistence. STLV prevalences and genetic diversity were estimated by PCR and sequence analysis of tax-rex and LTR fragments. Overall, 7.9% of nonhuman primate bushmeat is infected with STLVs. We documented new STLV-1 and STLV-3 variants in six out of the seven species tested and showed for the first time STLV infection in C. mona wolfi, C. ascanius whitesidei, L. aterrimus aterrimus, C. angolensis, and P. tholloni. Our results provide increasing evidence that the diversity and geographic distribution of PTLVs are much greater than previously thought.
Project description:The human T-lymphotropic viruses (HTLVs) types 1 and 2 originated independently and are related to distinct lineages of simian T-lymphotropic viruses (STLV-1 and STLV-2, respectively). These facts, along with the finding that HTLV-1 diversity appears to have resulted from multiple cross-species transmissions of STLV-1, suggest that contact between humans and infected nonhuman primates (NHPs) may result in HTLV emergence. We investigated the diversity of HTLV among central Africans reporting contact with NHP blood and body fluids through hunting, butchering, and keeping primate pets. We show that this population is infected with a wide variety of HTLVs, including two previously unknown retroviruses: HTLV-4 is a member of a phylogenetic lineage that is distinct from all known HTLVs and STLVs; HTLV-3 falls within the phylogenetic diversity of STLV-3, a group not previously seen in humans. We also document human infection with multiple STLV-1-like viruses. These results demonstrate greater HTLV diversity than previously recognized and suggest that NHP exposure contributes to HTLV emergence. Our discovery of unique and divergent HTLVs has implications for HTLV diagnosis, blood screening, and potential disease development in infected persons. The findings also indicate that cross-species transmission is not the rate-limiting step in pandemic retrovirus emergence and suggest that it may be possible to predict and prevent disease emergence by surveillance of populations exposed to animal reservoirs and interventions to decrease risk factors, such as primate hunting.
Project description:Human retroviral infections such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV) are the result of simian zoonotic transmissions through handling and butchering of Non-Human Primates (NHP) or by close contact with pet animals. Recent studies on retroviral infections in NHP bushmeat allowed for the identification of numerous Simian Immunodeficiency Viruses (SIV) and Simian T-cell Lymphotropic Viruses (STLV) to which humans are exposed. Nevertheless, today, data on simian retroviruses at the primate/hunter interface remain scarce. We conducted a pilot study on 63 blood and/or tissues samples derived from NHP bushmeat seized by the competent authorities in different locations across the country.SIV and STLV were detected by antibodies to HIV and HTLV antigens, and PCRs were performed on samples with an HIV or/and HTLV-like or indeterminate profile. Fourteen percent of the samples cross-reacted with HIV antigens and 44% with HTLV antigens. We reported STLV-1 infections in five of the seven species tested. STLV-3 infections, including a new STLV-3 subtype, STLV-1 and -3 co-infections, and triple SIV, STLV-1, STLV-3 infections were observed in red-capped mangabeys (C.torquatus). We confirmed SIV infections by PCR and sequence analyses in mandrills, red-capped mangabeys and showed that mustached monkeys in Gabon are infected with a new SIV strain basal to the SIVgsn/mus/mon lineage that did not fall into the previously described SIVmus lineages reported from the corresponding species in Cameroon. The same monkey (sub)species can thus be carrier of, at least, three distinct SIVs. Overall, the minimal prevalence observed for both STLV and SIV natural infections were 26.9% and 11.1% respectively.Overall, these data, obtained from a restricted sampling, highlight the need for further studies on simian retroviruses in sub-Saharan Africa to better understand their evolutionary history and to document SIV strains to which humans are exposed. We also show that within one species, a high genetic diversity may exist for SIVs and STLVs and observe a high genetic diversity in the SIVgsn/mon/mus lineage, ancestor of HIV-1/SIVcpz/SIVgor.
Project description:Simian T-lymphotropic virus 1 (STLV-1) enters human populations through contact with nonhuman primate (NHP) bushmeat. We tested whether differences in the extent of contact with STLV-1-infected NHP bushmeat foster regional differences in prevalence of human T-lymphotropic virus 1 (HTLV-1). Using serological and PCR assays, we screened humans and NHPs at two Sub-Saharan African sites where subsistence hunting was expected to be less (Taï region, Côte d'Ivoire [CIV]) or more (Bandundu region, Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC]) developed. Only 0.7% of human participants were infected with HTLV-1 in CIV (n = 574), and 1.3% of humans were infected in DRC (n = 302). Two of the Ivorian human virus sequences were closely related to simian counterparts, indicating ongoing zoonotic transmission. Multivariate analysis of human demographic parameters and behavior confirmed that participants from CIV were less often exposed to NHPs than participants from DRC through direct contact, e.g., butchering. At the same time, numbers of STLV-1-infected NHPs were higher in CIV (39%; n = 111) than in DRC (23%; n = 39). We conclude that similar ultimate risks of zoonotic STLV-1 transmission-defined as the product of prevalence in local NHP and human rates of contact to fresh NHP carcasses-contribute to the observed comparable rates of HTLV-1 infection in humans in CIV and DRC. We found that young adult men and mature women are most likely exposed to NHPs at both sites. In view of the continued difficulties in controlling zoonotic disease outbreaks, the identification of such groups at high risk of NHP exposure may guide future prevention efforts.IMPORTANCE Multiple studies report a high risk for zoonotic transmission of blood-borne pathogens like retroviruses through contact with NHPs, and this risk seems to be particularly high in tropical Africa. Here, we reveal high levels of exposure to NHP bushmeat in two regions of Western and Central tropical Africa. We provide evidence for continued zoonotic origin of HTLV-1 in humans at CIV, and we found that young men and mature women represent risk groups for zoonotic transmission of pathogens from NHPs. Identifying such risk groups can contribute to mitigation of not only zoonotic STLV-1 transmission but also transmission of any blood-borne pathogen onto humans in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Project description:Like the majority of emerging infectious diseases, HIV and HTLV are of zoonotic origin. Here we assess the risk of cross-species transmissions of their simian counterparts, SIV and STLV, from non-human primates (NHP) to humans in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A total of 331 samples, derived from NHP bushmeat, were collected as dried blood spots (DBS, n = 283) or as tissue samples (n = 36) at remote forest sites mainly in northern and eastern DRC. SIV antibody prevalences in DBS were estimated with a novel high throughput immunoassay with antigens representing the actual known diversity of HIV/SIV lineages. Antibody-positive samples were confirmed by PCR and sequence analysis. Screening for STLV infection was done with universal primers in tax, and new strains were further characterized in LTR. SIV and STLV infection in tissue samples was done by PCR only. Overall, 5 and 15.4% of NHP bushmeat was infected with SIV and STLV, respectively. A new SIV lineage was identified in Allen's swamp monkeys (Allenopithecus nigroviridis). Three new STLV-1 subtypes were identified in Allen's swamp monkeys (Allenopithecus nigroviridis), blue monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis), red-tailed guenons (Cercopithecus ascanius schmidti) and agile mangabeys (Cercocebus agilis). SIV and STLV prevalences varied according to species and geographic region. Our study illustrates clearly, even on a small sample size from a limited number of geographic areas, that our knowledge on the genetic diversity and geographic distribution of simian retroviruses is still limited and that humans continue to be exposed to relative high proportions on infected NHP bushmeat.
Project description:Three types of human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV)-simian T-cell leukemia virus (STLV) (collectively called primate T-cell leukemia viruses [PTLVs]) have been characterized, with evidence for zoonotic origin from primates for HTLV type 1 (HTLV-1) and HTLV-2 in Africa. To assess human exposure to STLVs in western Central Africa, we screened for STLV infection in primates hunted in the rain forests of Cameroon. Blood was obtained from 524 animals representing 18 different species. All the animals were wild caught between 1999 and 2002; 328 animals were sampled as bush meat and 196 were pets. Overall, 59 (11.2%) of the primates had antibodies cross-reacting with HTLV-1 and/or HTLV-2 antigens; HTLV-1 infection was confirmed in 37 animals, HTLV-2 infection was confirmed in 9, dual HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 infection was confirmed in 10, and results for 3 animals were indeterminate. Prevalences of infection were significantly lower in pets than in bush meat, 1.5 versus 17.0%, respectively. Discriminatory PCRs identified STLV-1, STLV-3, and STLV-1 and STLV-3 in HTLV-1-, HTLV-2-, and HTLV-1- and HTLV-2-cross-reactive samples, respectively. We identified for the first time STLV-1 sequences in mustached monkeys (Cercopithecus cephus), talapoins (Miopithecus ogouensis), and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) and confirmed STLV-1 infection in mandrills, African green monkeys, agile mangabeys, and crested mona and greater spot-nosed monkeys. STLV-1 long terminal repeat (LTR) and env sequences revealed that the strains belonged to different PTLV-1 subtypes. A high prevalence of PTLV infection was observed among agile mangabeys (Cercocebus agilis); 89% of bush meat was infected with STLV. Cocirculation of STLV-1 and STLV-3 and STLV-1-STLV-3 coinfections were identified among the agile mangabeys. Phylogenetic analyses of partial LTR sequences indicated that the agile mangabey STLV-3 strains were more related to the STLV-3 CTO604 strain isolated from a red-capped mangabey (Cercocebus torquatus) from Cameroon than to the STLV-3 PH969 strain from an Eritrean baboon or the PPA-F3 strain from a baboon in Senegal. Our study documents for the first time that (i) a substantial proportion of wild-living monkeys in Cameroon is STLV infected, (ii) STLV-1 and STLV-3 cocirculate in the same primate species, (iii) coinfection with STLV-1 and STLV-3 occurs in agile mangabeys, and (iv) humans are exposed to different STLV-1 and STLV-3 subtypes through handling primates as bush meat.
Project description:There are currently four known primate T-cell lymphotropic virus groups (PTLV1-4), each of which comprises closely related simian (STLV) and human (HTLV) viruses. For PTLV-1 and PTLV-3, simian and human viruses are interspersed, suggesting multiple cross-species transmission events; however, for PTLV-2 this is not so clear because HTLV-2 and STLV-2 strains from captive bonobos (Pan paniscus) form two distinct clades. To determine to what extent bonobos are naturally infected with STLV, we screened fecal samples (n?=?633) from wild-living bonobos (n?=?312) at six different sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the presence of STLV nucleic acids. STLV infection was detected in 8 of 312 bonobos at four of six field sites, suggesting an overall prevalence of 2.6% (ranging from 0 to 8%). Six samples contained STLV-2, while the two others contained STLV-3, as determined by phylogenetic analysis of partial tax and Long Terminal Repeats (LTR) sequences. The new STLV-2 sequences were highly diverse, but grouped with previously identified STLV-2 strains as a sister clade to HTLV-2. In contrast, the new STLV-3 sequences did not cluster together, but were more closely related to STLVs from sympatric monkey species. These results show for the first time that fecal samples can be used to detect STLV infection in apes. These results also show that wild-living bonobos are endemically infected with STLV-2, but have acquired STLV-3 on at least two occasions most likely by cross-species transmission from monkey species on which they prey. Future studies of bonobos and other non-human primate species in Central Africa are needed to identify the simian precursor of HTLV-2 in humans.
Project description:Human T-lymphotropic virus type 3 (HTLV-3) is a new virus recently identified in two primate hunters in Central Africa. Limited sequence analysis shows that HTLV-3 is distinct from HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 but is genetically similar to simian T-lymphotropic virus type 3 (STLV-3). We report here the first complete HTLV-3 sequence obtained by PCR-based genome walking using uncultured peripheral blood lymphocytes from an HTLV-3-infected person. The HTLV-3(2026ND) genome is 8,917 bp long and is genetically equidistant from HTLV-1 and HTLV-2, sharing about 62% identity. Phylogenetic analysis of all gene regions confirms this relationship and shows that HTLV-3 falls within the diversity of STLV-3, suggesting a primate origin. However, HTLV-3(2026ND) is unique, sharing only 87% to 92% sequence identity with STLV-3. SimPlot and phylogenetic analysis did not reveal any evidence of genetic recombination with either HTLV-1, HTLV-2, or STLV-3. Molecular dating estimates that the ancestor of HTLV-3 is as old as HTLV-1 and HTLV-2, with an inferred divergence time of 36,087 to 54,067 years ago. HTLV-3 has a prototypic genomic structure, with all enzymatic, regulatory, and structural proteins preserved. Like STLV-3, HTLV-3 is missing a third 21-bp transcription element found in the long terminal repeats of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 but instead contains a unique activator protein-1 transcription factor upstream of the 21-bp repeat elements. A PDZ motif, like that in HTLV-1, which is important for cellular signal transduction and transformation, is present in the C terminus of the HTLV-3 Tax protein. A basic leucine zipper region located in the antisense strand of HTLV-1, believed to play a role in viral replication and oncogenesis, was also found in the complementary strand of HTLV-3. The ancient origin of HTLV-3, the broad distribution of STLV-3 in Africa, and the propensity of STLVs to cross species into humans all suggest that HTLV-3 may be prevalent and support the need for expanded surveillance for this virus.
Project description:Simian T-cell leukemia viruses (STLVs) are the simian counterparts of human T-cell leukemia viruses (HTLVs). A novel, divergent type of STLV (STLV-L) from captive baboons was reported in 1994, but its natural prevalence remained unclear. We investigated the prevalence of STLV-L in 519 blood samples from wild-living nonhuman primates in Ethiopia. Seropositive monkeys having cross-reactive antibodies against HTLV were found among 22 out of 40 hamadryas baboons, 8 of 96 anubis baboons, 24 of 50 baboons that are hybrids between hamadryas and anubis baboons, and 41 of 177 grivet monkeys, but not in 156 gelada baboons. A Western blotting assay showed that sera obtained from seropositive hamadryas and hybrid baboons exhibited STLV-L-like reactivity. A PCR assay successfully amplified STLV sequences, which were subsequently sequenced and confirmed as being closely related to STLV-L. Surprisingly, further PCR showed that nearly half of the hamadryas (20 out of 40) and hybrid (19 out of 50) baboons had STLV-L DNA sequences. In contrast, most of the seropositive anubis baboons and grivet monkeys carried typical STLV-1 but not STLV-L. These observations demonstrate that STLV-L naturally prevails among hamadryas and hybrid baboons at significantly high rates. STLV-1 and -2, the close relative of STLV-L, are believed to have jumped across simian-human barriers, which resulted in widespread infection of HTLV-1 and -2. Further studies are required to know if STLV-L is spreading into human populations.
Project description:The recent discoveries of novel human T-lymphotropic virus type 3 (HTLV-3) and highly divergent simian T-lymphotropic virus type 3 (STLV-3) subtype D viruses from two different monkey species in southern Cameroon suggest that the diversity and cross-species transmission of these retroviruses are much greater than currently appreciated.We describe here the first full-length sequence of a highly divergent STLV-3d(Cmo8699AB) virus obtained by PCR-based genome walking using DNA from two dried blood spots (DBS) collected from a wild-caught Cercopithecus mona monkey. The genome of STLV-3d(Cmo8699AB) is 8913-bp long and shares only 77% identity to other PTLV-3s. Phylogenetic analyses using Bayesian and maximum likelihood inference clearly show that this highly divergent virus forms an independent lineage with high posterior probability and bootstrap support within the diversity of PTLV-3. Molecular dating of concatenated gag-pol-env-tax sequences inferred a divergence date of about 115,117 years ago for STLV-3d(Cmo8699AB) indicating an ancient origin for this newly identified lineage. Major structural, enzymatic, and regulatory gene regions of STLV-3d(Cmo8699AB) are intact and suggest viral replication and a predicted pathogenic potential comparable to other PTLV-3s.When taken together, the inferred ancient origin of STLV-3d(Cmo8699AB), the presence of this highly divergent virus in two primate species from the same geographical region, and the ease with which STLVs can be transmitted across species boundaries all suggest that STLV-3d may be more prevalent and widespread. Given the high human exposure to nonhuman primates in this region and the unknown pathogenicity of this divergent PTLV-3, increased surveillance and expanded prevention activities are necessary. Our ability to obtain the complete viral genome from DBS also highlights further the utility of this method for molecular-based epidemiologic studies.
Project description:Human T-lymphotropic virus type 4 (HTLV-4) is a new deltaretrovirus recently identified in a primate hunter in Cameroon. Limited sequence analysis previously showed that HTLV-4 may be distinct from HTLV-1, HTLV-2, and HTLV-3, and their simian counterparts, STLV-1, STLV-2, and STLV-3, respectively. Analysis of full-length genomes can provide basic information on the evolutionary history and replication and pathogenic potential of new viruses.We report here the first complete HTLV-4 sequence obtained by PCR-based genome walking using uncultured peripheral blood lymphocyte DNA from an HTLV-4-infected person. The HTLV-4(1863LE) genome is 8791-bp long and is equidistant from HTLV-1, HTLV-2, and HTLV-3 sharing only 62-71% nucleotide identity. HTLV-4 has a prototypic genomic structure with all enzymatic, regulatory, and structural proteins preserved. Like STLV-2, STLV-3, and HTLV-3, HTLV-4 is missing a third 21-bp transcription element found in the long terminal repeats of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 but instead contains unique c-Myb and pre B-cell leukemic transcription factor binding sites. Like HTLV-2, the PDZ motif important for cellular signal transduction and transformation in HTLV-1 and HTLV-3 is missing in the C-terminus of the HTLV-4 Tax protein. A basic leucine zipper (b-ZIP) region located in the antisense strand of HTLV-1 and believed to play a role in viral replication and oncogenesis, was also found in the complementary strand of HTLV-4. Detailed phylogenetic analysis shows that HTLV-4 is clearly a monophyletic viral group. Dating using a relaxed molecular clock inferred that the most recent common ancestor of HTLV-4 and HTLV-2/STLV-2 occurred 49,800 to 378,000 years ago making this the oldest known PTLV lineage. Interestingly, this period coincides with the emergence of Homo sapiens sapiens during the Middle Pleistocene suggesting that early humans may have been susceptible hosts for the ancestral HTLV-4.The inferred ancient origin of HTLV-4 coinciding with the appearance of Homo sapiens, the propensity of STLVs to cross-species into humans, the fact that HTLV-1 and -2 spread globally following migrations of ancient populations, all suggest that HTLV-4 may be prevalent. Expanded surveillance and clinical studies are needed to better define the epidemiology and public health importance of HTLV-4 infection.