Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NIAID-Supported Scientists Discover Origin Of HIV-1: Chimpanzee Subspecies Source Of AIDS Virus

Date:
February 2, 1999
Source:
National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases
Summary:
NIAID-supported scientists reported that they have discovered the origin of HIV-1, the virus responsible for the global AIDS pandemic. A subspecies of chimpanzees native to west equatorial Africa has been identified as the original source of the virus.

Today scientists reported that they have discovered the origin of HIV-1, the virus responsible for the global AIDS pandemic. A subspecies of chimpanzees native to west equatorial Africa has been identified as the original source of the virus.

Beatrice H. Hahn, M.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a grantee of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), led the international team of investigators. They describe their findings in the February 4 issue of Nature. The journal moved the normal press embargo ahead to coincide with Dr. Hahn's presentation of the study details on the opening night of the 6th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Chicago.

"This is an important finding with significant potential," notes Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., NIAID director. "We now have chimpanzee isolates of simian immunodeficiency virus [SIVcpz] that have been shown by careful molecular analysis to be closely related to HIV-1. Furthermore, this virus infects a primate species that is 98 percent related to humans. This may allow us - if done carefully and in collaboration with primatologists working to protect this endangered species - to study infected chimpanzees in the wild to find out why these animals don't get sick, information that may help us better protect humans from developing AIDS."

Until now, HIV-1's origin had been unclear. Although most scientists suspected that the virus descended from a primate species, only three chimpanzees infected with viruses related to HIV-1 had been documented, and one of these viruses correlated only weakly with HIV-1.

When Dr. Hahn and her collaborators recently identified a fourth chimpanzee infected with SIVcpz, they decided to use this opportunity to carefully examine all four viruses and the animals from which they were derived. With sophisticated genetic techniques, they analyzed the four SIVcpz isolates and compared them with various HIV-1 viruses taken from humans. They also determined the subspecies identity of the chimpanzees: three belonged to a subspecies native to west equatorial Africa, Pan troglodytes troglodytes. The fourth, the chimpanzee infected with a virus most unlike HIV-1, belonged to an east African subspecies known as Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii.

As it turns out, the three isolates from the Pan troglodytes troglodytes chimpanzees strongly resemble the different subgroups of HIV-1, namely groups M (responsible for the pandemic), N and O (both found only in west equatorial Africa). Their investigation also revealed that some of the viruses resulted from genetic recombination in the chimpanzees before they infected humans.

Their other significant find, Dr. Fauci notes, is that the natural habitat of these chimpanzees directly coincides with the pattern of the HIV-1 epidemic in this area of Africa. Putting all these pieces of the puzzle together, Dr. Hahn and her colleagues conclude that Pan troglodytes troglodytes is the natural reservoir of HIV-1 and has been the source of at least three independent occurrences of cross-species virus transmission events from chimpanzees to humans.

The authors believe that HIV-1 was introduced into the human population when hunters became exposed to infected blood. Furthermore, they speculate that humans might still be at risk for cross-species transmission because the bushmeat trade - the hunting and killing of chimpanzees and other endangered animals for human consumption - is still common practice in west equatorial Africa.

This new report suggests that preserving the wild chimpanzee populations will be crucial for further carefully designed studies to better understand how cross-species virus transmission occurs and how infected chimpanzees resist disease, studies that in turn may lead to new strategies for designing HIV drugs and vaccines.

NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIAID conducts and supports research to prevent, diagnose and treat illnesses such as HIV disease and other sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, malaria, asthma and allergies. NIH is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

###

References:F Gao, E Bailes, DL Robertson, Y Chen, CM Rodenburg, SF Michael, LB Cummins, LO Arthur, M Peeters, GM Shaw, PM Sharp and BH Hahn. Origin of HIV-1 in the chimpanzee Pan troglodytes troglodytes. Nature 397, 436-41 (1999).

RA Weis and RW Wrangham. From Pan to pandemic. Nature 397, 385-6 (1999).

Press releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases. "NIAID-Supported Scientists Discover Origin Of HIV-1: Chimpanzee Subspecies Source Of AIDS Virus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 February 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/02/990201081527.htm>.
National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases. (1999, February 2). NIAID-Supported Scientists Discover Origin Of HIV-1: Chimpanzee Subspecies Source Of AIDS Virus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/02/990201081527.htm
National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases. "NIAID-Supported Scientists Discover Origin Of HIV-1: Chimpanzee Subspecies Source Of AIDS Virus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/02/990201081527.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins