New Simian β retroviruses from rhesus monkeys (Macaca Mulatta) and Langurs (Semnopithecus entellus) from Rajasthan, India

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Natural infection of feral Indian rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) by a new simian β retrovirus, provisionally called simian retrovirus-7 (SRV-7) is described. The virus is capable of in vitro replication in primary human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) and B and T cell lines. We have earlier reported a novel SRV, SRV-6 from Indian langurs (Semnopithecus entellus). Additional sequence analyses from gp20 transmembrane (TM) env genes of SRV-6 and SRV-7 place them in a separate cluster, related to but distinct from known exogenous SRVs and also close to the simian endogenous β retrovirus, (SERV) from African baboon. Phylogenetic analyses of pol gene of SRV-7 place it closer to SERV when the stop codons of the SERV genes are removed. On the other hand, additional sequence data from gp70, surface glycoprotein (SU) region of the env gene of SRV-6 suggest it is more closely related to known exogenous SRVs, (SRV-1 to 3). It is also related to the endogenous langur virus, Po-1-Lu. We hypothesize that SRV-6 and SRV-7 probably originated from a progenitor exogenous SRV which recombined with an endogenous SERV in the TM env and pol genes during evolution, based on the phylogenetic analyses.

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