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Detection and quantification of STLV-1 and SFV proviral load in blood and saliva of naturally infected non-human primates

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Retrovirology201512 (Suppl 1) :P4

  • Published:


  • Blood Sample
  • Blood Cell
  • Infectious Disease
  • Cancer Research
  • Virus Type

Simian T Lymphotropic Virus type 1 (STLV-1) and Simian Foamy Virus (SFV) retroviruses infect Old World non-human primates (NHP) and humans. Inter-human transmission has been described for HTLV-1 but not for SFV. SFV infection is asymptomatic in its hosts, while STLV-1 and its human counterpart HTLV-1 are the etiologic agents of Adult T-cell Leukemia/Lymphoma. Both STLV-1 and SFV can be zoonotically transmitted from NHP to humans through severe bites, thus involving contact between virus-containing saliva in the donor and blood in the recipient. Surprisingly, while the presence of both SFV RNA and DNA has been characterized into the saliva of NHP, neither STLV-1 DNA, nor STLV-1 RNA was quantified. Thus, the goal of our study was to search for STLV-1 provirus in the cells present in the saliva of NHP and then to quantify the proviral load of both viruses. We took advantages of a cohort of 45 papio anubis, naturally infected by STLV-1. We first assessed SFV infection and then potential SFV/STLV-1 co-infections. To this end, we designed semi-nested PCR and qPCR protocols (1) to diagnose infection and (2) to quantify STLV-1 and/or SFV proviral load in peripheral blood cells and in saliva. First, STLV-1 provirus was detected by semi-nested PCR in 8/10 blood samples tested, but only in the saliva of 1/10 NHP who had a high STLV-1 proviral load in peripheral blood cells. SFV DNA was detected by nested-PCR in blood samples from 10/10 baboons and in the saliva of 8/10 animals. A second study performed with 20 animals will be presented. We will show whether a correlation exists between blood and saliva STLV-1/SFV proviral load and whether infection with one retrovirus impacts proviral load of the other. Altogether, our current results suggest that SFV is more frequently present in saliva than STLV-1. This should impact the ability of both viruses to be zoonotically transmitted through bites.

Authors’ Affiliations

Equipe Oncogenèse Rétrovirale, International Center for Research in Infectiology, INSERM U1111, CNRS, UMR5308, France
Equipe labellisée “Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer”, International Center for Research in Infectiology, INSERM U1111, CNRS, UMR5308, France
International Center for Research in Infectiology, INSERM U1111 – CNRS, UMR5308, France
Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, Lyon, France
Université Lyon 1, Lyon, 69364, Cedex 07, France
Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Pasteur Institute, Paris, 75724, Cedex 15, France
Epidémiologie et Physiopathologie des Virus Oncogènes, CNRS UMR 3569, Pasteur Institute, Paris, 75724, Cedex 15, France
Station de Primatologie-UPS846-CNRS, Rousset sur Arc, 13790, France


© Alais et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.