No genetic evidence for involvement of Deltaretroviruses in adult patients with precursor and mature T-cell neoplasms

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Background: The Deltaretrovirus genus comprises viruses that infect humans (HTLV), various simian species (STLV) and cattle (BLV). HTLV-I is the main causative agent in adult T-cell leukemia in endemic areas and some of the simian T-cell lymphotropic viruses have been implicated in the induction of malignant lymphomas in their hosts. BLV causes enzootic bovine leukosis in infected cattle or sheep. During the past few years several new Deltaretrovirus isolates have been described in various primate species. Two new HTLV-like viruses in humans have recently been identified and provisionally termed HTLV-III and HTLV-IV. In order to identify a broad spectrum of Deltaretroviruses by a single PCR approach we have established a novel consensus PCR based on nucleotide sequence data obtained from 42 complete virus isolates (HTLV-I/-II, STLV-I/ -II/-III, BLV). The primer sequences were based on highly interspecies-conserved virus genome regions. We used this PCR to detect Deltaretroviruses in samples from adult patients with a variety of rare T-cell neoplasms in Germany. Results: The sensitivity of the consensus PCR was at least between 10-2 and 10-3 with 100% specificity as demonstrated by serial dilutions of cell lines infected with either HTLV-I, HTLV-II or BLV. Fifty acute T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) samples and 33 samples from patients with various rare mature T-cell neoplasms (T-PLL, Sézary syndrome and other T-NHL) were subsequently investigated. There were no cases with HTLV-I, HTLV-II or any other Deltaretroviruses. Conclusion: The results rule out a significant involvement of HTLV-I or HTLV-II in these disease entities and show that other related Deltaretroviruses are not likely to be involved. The newly established Deltaretrovirus PCR may be a useful tool for identifying new Deltaretroviruses. © 2007 Burmeister et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Burmeister, T., Schwartz, S., Hummel, M., Hoelzer, D., & Thiel, E. (2007). No genetic evidence for involvement of Deltaretroviruses in adult patients with precursor and mature T-cell neoplasms. Retrovirology, 4.

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