An apparent species-specific relatedness of SIVagm suggests a coevolution with their natural hosts. However, the exact species or subspecies classification of African green monkeys, AGM, is uncertain because current classification schemes rely on phenotype markers, while more definitive genetic data are lacking. In this study, the CD4 protein involved in tissue type recognition was gentically cloned and sequence from PBMC RNA from all AGM species, including Barbados green monkeys (BGM). Phylogenetic trees were constructed that also included genomic CD4 nucleotide sequences from patas, sooty mangabeys, rhesus and pig-tail macaques, chimpanzees, and humans. Chimpanzees and humans consistently clustered together. Monkeys within the Cercopithecus genus formed a separate cluster which included pata monkeys, supporting its grouping as a member of Cercopithecus. Surprisingly, sooty mangabeys were genetically more closely related to Asian macaques than to other African species, which might explain why macaques are more susceptible to infection by the SIVsm group than to infection by SIVagm or HIV-1 and why patas, on the other hand, are highly susceptible to SIVagm infection. Based on CD4 genetic data, tantalus, vervets, grivets, and sabaeus formed separate subgroups with BGM grouping closely with vervets. The branching order of the AGM species was related to that of their respective SIVagm env sequences. The study suggests a strong correlation between CD4 phylogeny and the susceptibility of the host species to infection by a specific lentivirus and supports the assumption of a coevolution of SIVagm and AGM. CD4 sequencing is suggested as a relevant method for genetic determination of primate species.
|Journal||Journal of Medical Primatology|
|Publication status||Published - 1997|