Genetic Diversity within Alphaherpesviruses: Characterization of a Novel Variant of Herpes Simplex Virus 2.

Abstract : Very low levels of variability have been reported for the herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) genome. We recently described a new genetic variant of HSV-2 (HSV-2v) characterized by a much higher degree of variability for the UL30 gene (DNA polymerase) than observed for the HG52 reference strain. Retrospective screening of 505 clinical isolates of HSV-2 by a specific real-time PCR assay targeting the UL30 gene led to the identification of 13 additional HSV-2v isolates, resulting in an overall prevalence of 2.8%. Phylogenetic analyses on the basis of microsatellite markers and gene sequences showed clear differences between HSV-2v and classical HSV-2. Thirteen of the 14 patients infected with HSV-2v originated from West or Central Africa, and 9 of these patients were coinfected with HIV. These results raise questions about the origin of this new virus. Preliminary results suggest that HSV-2v may have acquired genomic segments from chimpanzee alphaherpesvirus (ChHV) by recombination. This article deals with the highly topical question of the origin of this new HSV-2 variant identified in patients with HIV coinfection originating mostly from West or Central Africa. HSV-2v clearly differed from classical HSV-2 isolates in phylogenetic analyses and may be linked to simian ChHV. This new HSV-2 variant highlights the possible occurrence of recombination between human and simian herpesviruses under natural conditions, potentially presenting greater challenges for the future.
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Sonia Burrel, Nathalie Désiré, Julien Marlet, Laurent Dacheux, Sophie Seang, et al.. Genetic Diversity within Alphaherpesviruses: Characterization of a Novel Variant of Herpes Simplex Virus 2.. Journal of Virology, American Society for Microbiology, 2015, 89 (24), pp.12273-83. ⟨10.1128/JVI.01959-15⟩. ⟨pasteur-01429997⟩

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