Four primate (PTLV), human (HTLV) and simian (STLV) T-cell leukemia virus types, have been characterized thus far, with evidence of a simian zoonotic origin for HTLV-1, HTLV-2 and HTLV-3 in Africa. The PTLV envelope glycoprotein surface component (SUgp46) comprises a receptor-binding domain (RBD) that alternates hypervariable and highly conserved sequences. To further delineate highly conserved motifs in PTLV RBDs, we investigated the intrahost variability of HTLV-1 and STLV-1 by generating and sequencing libraries of DNA fragments amplified within the RBD of the SUgp46 env gene. Using new and highly cross-reactive env primer pairs, we observed the presence of Env quasispecies in HTLV-1 infected individuals and STLV-1 naturally infected macaques, irrespective of the clinical status. These intrahost variants helped us to define highly conserved residues and motifs in the RBD. The new highly sensitive env PCR described here appears suitable for the screening of all known variants of the different PTLV types and should, therefore, be useful for the analysis of seroindeterminate samples.
Kim, F. J., Lavanya, M., Gessain, A., Gallego, S., Battini, J. L., Sitbon, M., & Courgnaud, V. (2006). Intrahost variations in the envelope receptor-binding domain (RBD) of HTLV-1 and STLV-1 primary isolates. Retrovirology, 3. https://doi.org/10.1186/1742-4690-3-29