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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A novel gamma 2-herpesvirus of the Rhadinovirus 2 lineage in chimpanzees.

Old World monkeys and, recently, African great apes have been shown, by serology and polymerase chain reaction (PCR), to harbor different gamma2-herpesviruses closely related to Kaposi's sarcoma-associated Herpesvirus (KSHV). Although the presence of two distinct lineages of KSHV-like rhadinoviruses, RV1 and RV2, has been revealed in Old World primates (including African green monkeys, macaques, and, recently, mandrills), viruses belonging to the RV2 genogroup have not yet been identified from great apes. Indeed, the three yet known gamma2-herpesviruses in chimpanzees (PanRHV1a/PtRV1, PanRHV1b) and gorillas (GorRHV1) belong to the RV1 group. To investigate the putative existence of a new RV2 Rhadinovirus in chimpanzees and gorillas we have used the degenerate consensus primer PCR strategy for the Herpesviral DNA polymerase gene on 40 wild-caught animals. This study led to the discovery, in common chimpanzees, of a novel gamma2-herpesvirus belonging to the RV2 genogroup, termed Pan Rhadino-herpesvirus 2 (PanRHV2). Use of specific primers and internal oligonucleotide probes demonstrated the presence of this novel gamma2-herpesvirus in three wild-caught animals. Comparison of a 1092-bp fragment of the DNA polymerase obtained from these three animals of the Pan troglodytes troglodytes subspecies, one from Gabon and the two others from Cameroon, revealed <1% of nucleotide divergence. The geographic colocalization as well as the phylogenetic "relationship" of the human and simian gamma2-herpesviruses support the model according to which herpesviruses have diversified from a common ancestor in a manner mediating cospeciation of herpesviruses with their host species. By demonstrating the existence of two distinct Rhadinovirus lineages in common chimpanzees, our finding indicates the possible existence of a novel human gamma2-herpesvirus belonging to the RV2 genogroup.[1]


  1. A novel gamma 2-herpesvirus of the Rhadinovirus 2 lineage in chimpanzees. Lacoste, V., Mauclère, P., Dubreuil, G., Lewis, J., Georges-Courbot, M.C., Gessain, A. Genome Res. (2001) [Pubmed]
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