Distribution of TT virus (TTV), TTV-like minivirus, and related viruses in humans and nonhuman primates.
Thom K., Morrison C., Lewis JCM., Simmonds P.
TT virus (TTV) and TTV-like minivirus (TLMV) are small DNA viruses with single-stranded, closed circular, antisense genomes infecting man. Despite their extreme sequence heterogeneity (>50%), a highly conserved region in the untranslated region (UTR) allows both viruses to be amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). TTV/TLMV infection was detected in 88 of 100 human plasma samples; amplified sequences were differentiated into TTV and TLMV by analysis of melting profiles, showing that both viruses were similarly prevalent. PCR with UTR primers also detected frequent infection with TTV/TLMV-related viruses in a wide range of apes (chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, gibbons) and African monkey species (mangabeys, drills, mandrills). These findings support the hypothesis for the co-evolution of TTV-like viruses with their hosts over the period of primate speciation, potentially analogous to the evolution of primate herpesviruses.