PloS one 2016 07 1411(7) e0159281 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0159281
In the 20th century, thirteen distinct human immunodeficiency viruses emerged following independent cross-species transmission events involving simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIV) from African primates. In the late 1900s, pathogenic SIV strains also emerged in the United Sates among captive Asian macaque species following their unintentional infection with SIV from African sooty mangabeys (SIVsmm). Since their discovery in the 1980s, SIVs from rhesus macaques (SIVmac) and pig-tailed macaques (SIVmne) have become invaluable models for studying HIV pathogenesis, vaccine design and the emergence of viruses. SIV isolates from captive crab-eating macaques (SIVmfa) were initially described but lost prior to any detailed molecular and genetic characterization. In order to infer the origins of the lost SIVmfa lineage, we located archived material and colony records, recovered its genomic sequence by PCR, and assessed its phylogenetic relationship to other SIV strains. We conclude that SIVmfa is the product of two cross-species transmission events. The first was the established transmission of SIVsmm to rhesus macaques, which occurred at the California National Primate Research Center in the late 1960s and the virus later emerged as SIVmac. In a second event, SIVmac was transmitted to crab-eating macaques, likely at the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates in the early 1970s, and it was later spread to the New England Primate Research Center colony in 1973 and eventually isolated in 1986. Our analysis suggests that SIVmac had already emerged by the early 1970s and had begun to diverge into distinct lineages. Furthermore, our findings suggest that pathogenic SIV strains may have been more widely distributed than previously appreciated, raising the possibility that additional isolates may await discovery.