Discovery of novel herpes simplexviruses in wild gorillas, bonobos, and chimpanzees supports zoonotic origin of HSV-2
Wertheim JO, Hostager R, Ryu D, Merkel K, Angedakin S, Arandjelovic M, Ayimisin EA, Babweteera F, Bessone M, Brun-Jeffery KJ, Dieguez P, Eckardt W, Fruth B, Herbinger I & Jones S (2021) Discovery of novel herpes simplexviruses in wild gorillas, bonobos, and chimpanzees supports zoonotic origin of HSV-2. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 38 (7), pp. 2818-2830. https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msab072
Viruses closely related to human pathogens can reveal the origins of human infectious diseases. Human herpes simplexvirus type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2) are hypothesized to have arisen via host-virus co-divergence and cross-species transmission. We report the discovery of novel herpes simplexviruses during a large-scale screening of fecal samples from wild gorillas, bonobos, and chimpanzees. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that, contrary to expectation, simplexviruses from these African apes are all more closely related to HSV-2 than to HSV-1. Molecular clock-based hypothesis testing suggests the divergence between HSV-1 and the African great ape simplexviruses likely represents a codivergence event between humans and gorillas. The simplexviruses infecting African great apes subsequently experienced multiple cross-species transmission events over the past 3 million years, the most recent of which occurred between humans and bonobos around 1 million years ago. These findings revise our understanding of the origins of human herpes simplexviruses and suggest that HSV-2 is one of the earliest zoonotic pathogens.
Additional co-authors: Hjalmar Kuehl, Kevin E Langergraber, Kevin Lee, Nadege F Madinda, Sonja Metzger, Lucy Jayne Ormsby, Martha M Robbins, Volker Sommer, Tara Stoinski, Erin G Wessling, Roman M Wittig, Yisa Ginath Yuh, Fabian H Leendertz, Sébastien Calvignac-Spencer
Molecular Biology and Evolution: Volume 38, Issue 7
|Funders||National Institutes of Health|
|Publication date online||15/03/2021|
|Date accepted by journal||09/03/2021|