Establishment of a phylogenetic survey system for AIDS-related lentiviruses and demonstration of a new HIV-2 subgroup.
We designed a universal primer (UNIPOL) for DNA amplification of AIDS-related viruses. The phylogenetic tree constructed from the presumed sequences amplified with UNIPOL was representative of the tree calculated from whole pol gene sequences so far reported. UNIPOL was able to amplify the sequences of all four major groups of primate lentiviruses and also that of a distinct virus from a Ghanaian patient with an AIDS-related complex, designated GH-2. This strain scarcely hybridizes with known HIV/simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) DNA probes. Sequence analysis of the only amplified fragment revealed rapidly that GH-2 was quite similar to the recently reported HIV-2ALT(D205) and that these two viruses form a new subgroup distint from known HIV-2 and SIVmac/SIVsm in the large HIV-2 group. This system will be useful for further phylogenetic study of various primate lentiviruses.