KSHV-like herpesviruses in chimps and gorillas


Among the herpesviruses1, KSHV (Kaposi's-sarcoma-associated herpesvirus) is the human prototype of the rhadinovirus genus2. Rhadinoviruses (or γ2-herpesviruses) are found in several animal species, including New and Old World monkeys, but not in the great apes3,4,5. Here we describe the detection and sequencing of a polymerase gene fragment from three new rhadinoviruses discovered in chimpanzees and in a gorilla, which are more closely related to KSHV than to any other virus of this genus described so far. Our results indicate that the great apes from central Africa could provide a reservoir of new γ2-herpesviruses that are potentially transmissible to humans.

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Figure 1: Phylogenetic tree resulting from analysis of 37 selected 454-base-pair fragments5 of the herpesvirus DNA-polymerase gene.
Figure 2: Neighbour-joining protein distance tree for the 151 amino-acid residues encoded by a 454-base-pair fragment5 of the DNA-polymerase gene.


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Correspondence to Antoine Gessain.

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Lacoste, V., Mauclre, P., Dubreuil, G. et al. KSHV-like herpesviruses in chimps and gorillas . Nature 407, 151–152 (2000).

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