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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2001 Aug 10;17(12):1155-65.

A divergent simian immunodeficiency virus from sooty mangabey with an atypical Tat-TAR structure.

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Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10016,


SIVsm, the simian immunodeficiency virus that naturally infects sooty mangabeys in West Africa, is the closest lentiviral relative of human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2). To determine the genetic characteristics of SIVsm in its natural host, we sequenced the full-length genome of SIVsmSL92b, a primary isolate obtained from a pet sooty mangabey in Sierra Leone. SIVsmSL92b proved to be the most divergent member of the HIV-2/SIVsm lineage found thus far, having as much as 35% nucleotide divergence from other HIV-2 genomes. A phylogenetic association between SIVsmSL92b and HIV-2 PA subtype E, which had been previously revealed by the analysis of partial gag sequences, was extended to the pol gene. SIVsmSL92b showed several divergent features, including a short Tat protein of 104 residues and an atypical TAR structure. Specifically, only one of the duplicate TAR elements contained the conserved hexanucleotide loop sequence CUGGGX important for Tat-cyclin T1 binding. These features suggested that the mechanism of SIVsmSL92b Tat and TAR interaction differed from that described for HIV-2. Taken together, these findings indicated that the structural diversity within the HIV-2/SIVsm lineage was greater than previously appreciated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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