Simian Foamy Virus Infection of Rhesus Macaques in Bangladesh: Relationship of latent proviruses and transcriptionally active viruses.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of virology, Volume 87, Issue 24, p.13628-39 (2013)


2013, Basic Sciences Division, Center-Authored Paper, Genomics Core Facility, October 2013, Public Health Sciences Division


Simian Foamy viruses (SFV) are complex retroviruses that are ubiquitous in non-human primates (NHP), and are zoonotically transmitted to humans presumably through NHP saliva, acquired by licking, biting and other behaviors. We have studied SFV in free-ranging rhesus macaques in Bangladesh. It has been previously shown that SFV in immune competent animals only replicates to detectable levels in superficial epithelial cells of the oral mucosa, although latent proviruses are found in most, if not all, tissues. In this study, we compare DNA sequences from latent SFV proviruses found in blood cells of 30 Bangladesh rhesus macaques to RNA sequences of transcriptionally active SFV from buccal swabs obtained from the same animals. Viral strains, defined by differences in SFV gag sequences, from buccal mucosal specimens overlapped with those from blood samples in 90 percent of animals. Thus, latent proviruses in PBMC are, to a great extent, representative of viruses likely to be transmitted to other hosts. The level of SFV RNA in buccal swabs varied greatly between macaques, with increasing amounts of viral RNA in older animals. Evidence of APOBEC3-induced mutations was found in gag sequences derived from the blood and oral mucosa.