Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America vol:91 issue:7 pages:2848-52
Searching for clues to the evolution of the primate T-lymphotropic viruses (PTLVs), which include the human and the simian T-lymphotropic viruses (HTLV and STLV), we have identified another PTLV, which differs sufficiently from the known PTLV-I and PTLV-II types to be designated here PTLV-L. The virus was isolated from a wild-born baboon (Papio hamadryas) from Eritrea. In a cDNA library a 1802-bp-long fragment was identified that extends from the env region, including the complete transmembrane protein gene, to part of the tax/rex gene. Homologies at the nucleotide sequence level of PTLV-L, prototype simian T-lymphotropic virus-PH969, with HTLV-I and -II, respectively, were 62% and 64% overall, 65% and 70% in the env region, and 80% and 80% in the partial tax/rex sequence. In the 5' part of the pX region a significant homology was seen only with HTLV-II (52%). Phylogenetic analysis based on the gene encoding the transmembrane protein indicates that PTLV-L represents a PTLV type with a long independent evolution, longer than any strain within the PTLV-I or PTLV-II groups. The finding of another PTLV type in African baboons is further evidence of the wide variety of PTLV found on this continent. Whether PTLV-L resembles PTLV-I and PTLV-II in the extension of its host range to other primates, including humans, remains to be seen.