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J Virol. 1999 Feb;73(2):1036-45.

Characterization of a novel simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) from L'Hoest monkeys (Cercopithecus l'hoesti): implications for the origins of SIVmnd and other primate lentiviruses.

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Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Maryland 20852, USA.


The human immunodeficiency virus types 1 and 2 (HIV-1 and HIV-2) appear to have originated by cross-species transmission of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) from asymptomatically infected African primates. Few of the SIVs characterized to date efficiently infect human primary lymphocytes. Interesting, two of the three identified to infect such cultures (SIVsm and SIVcpz) have appeared in human populations as genetically related HIVs. In the present study, we characterized a novel SIV isolate from an East African monkey of the Cercopithecus genus, the l'hoest monkey (C. l'hoesti), which we designated SIVlhoest. This SIV isolate efficiently infected both human and macaque lymphocytes and resulted in a persistent infection of macaques, characterized by high primary virus load and a progressive decline in circulating CD4 lymphocytes, consistent with progression to AIDS. Phylogenetic analyses showed that SIVlhoest is genetically distinct from other previously characterized primate lentiviruses but clusters in the same major lineage as SIV from mandrills (SIVmnd), a West African primate species. Given the geographic distance between the ranges of l'hoest monkeys and mandrills, this may indicate that SIVmnd arose through cross-species transmission from close relatives of l'hoest monkeys that are sympatric with mandrills. These observations lend support to the hypothesis that the primate lentiviruses originated and coevolved within monkeys of the Cercopithecus genus. Regarded in this light, lentivirus infections of primates not belonging to the Cercopithecus genus may have resulted from cross-species transmission in the not-too-distant past.

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