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J Virol. 1997 Jul;71(7):5464-72.

Complete nucleotide sequence of the new simian T-lymphotropic virus, STLV-PH969 from a Hamadryas baboon, and unusual features of its long terminal repeat.

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  • 1Rega Institute for Medical Research and University Hospitals, Leuven, Belgium.


A third type of primate T-lymphotropic virus, PTLV-L, with STLV-PH969 as a prototype, has recently been isolated from an African baboon (Papio hamadryas). Classification of this virus has been based on partial sequence analysis of cDNA from a virus-producing cell line, PH969. We obtained the complete nucleotide sequence of this virus with a proviral genome of 8,916 bp. All major genes, homologous in all human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV)-related viruses, and their corresponding mRNAs, including appropriate splicing, were identified. One additional nonhomologous open reading frame in the proximal pX region is accessible for translation through alternative splicing. Sequence comparison shows that STLV-PH969 is equidistantly related to HTLV type 1 (HTLV-1) and HTLV-2. In all coding regions, the similarity tends to be the lowest between STLV-PH969 and HTLV-1. However, in the long terminal repeat (LTR) region, the lowest similarity was found between STLV-PH969 and HTLV-2. The U3-R and R-U5 boundaries of the STLV-PH969 LTR were experimentally determined at nucleotides 268 and 524, respectively. This 695-bp LTR is 60 and 73 bp shorter than the LTRs of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2, respectively, but its general organization is similar to the one found in the HTLV-bovine leukemia virus genus. In the long region between the polyadenylation signal and the poly(A) site, sequence similarity with the HTLV-1 Rex-responsive element (RexRE) core and secondary structure prediction suggest the presence of a RexRE. The presence of three 21-bp repeats is conserved within the U3 region of HTLV-1, HTLV-2, and BLV. Only two direct repeats with similarity to these Tax-responsive elements were found in the STLV-PH969 LTR, which might suggest differences in the Tax-mediated transactivation of this virus. We conclude that STLV-PH969 has all the genes and genomic regions to suggest a replication cycle comparable to that of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2.

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