An African primate lentivirus (SIVsm) closely related to HIV-2

Hirsch, Vanessa M.; Olmsted, Robert A.; Murphey-Corb, Michael; Purcell, Robert H.; Johnson, Philip R.
June 1989
Nature;6/1/1989, Vol. 339 Issue 6223, p389
Academic Journal
The ancestors of the human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV-1 and HIV-2) may have evolved from a reservoir of African non- human primate lentiviruses, termed simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIV)¹. None of the SIV strains characterized so far are closely related to HIV-12-6. HIV-2, however, is closely related to SIV (SIVmac) isolated from captive rhesus macaques (Macaco mulatto)7. SIV infection of feral Asian macaques has not been demonstrated by serological surveys8,9. Thus, macaques may have acquired SIV in captivity by cross-species transmission from an SIV-infecied African primate. Sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys), an African primate species indigenous to West Africa, however, are infected with SIV (SIVsm) both in captivity9-11 and in the wild (P. Fultz, personal communication). We have molecularly cloned and sequenced SIVsmand report here that it is closely related to SIVmac and HIV-2. These results suggest that SIVsm has infected macaques in captivity and humans in West Africa and evolved as SIVmac and HIV-2, respectively.


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