HTLV-1 envelope sequences from Brazil, the Caribbean, and Romania: clustering of sequences according to geographic origin and variability in an antibody epitope

Virology. 1991 Oct;184(2):483-91. doi: 10.1016/0042-6822(91)90418-b.


We sequenced the envelope genes of Human T-cell leukemia type I viruses (HTLV-I) derived from five Brazilian, two Caribbean, and one Romanian case of adult T-cell leukemia after amplification of the complete env gene by PCR. A comparison with previously reported HTLV-I sequences revealed that, although highly homologous, no two env sequences were identical. All envelope sequences differed from each other by 0.3-2.1% nucleotide differences. The five Brazilian sequences clustered together and were about as different from each other (0.5-0.75% nucleotide difference) as were three previously reported Japanese sequences (0.7-0.95%). In contrast, sequences of Caribbean origin were less homogeneous (0.5-1.9% nucleotide differences within this group). The Romanian sequence was not significantly more divergent than any of the others and was closest to our two Caribbean sequences. We observed two changes in a region (aa 176-209) which has previously been shown to contain a linear antibody epitope recognized by most human sera from seropositive individuals. One of these changes affects the binding of monoclonal antibodies to this epitope demonstrating the variability of an antibody epitope in the HTLV-I envelope.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Base Sequence
  • Deltaretrovirus Infections / microbiology
  • Epitopes
  • Gene Products, env / genetics*
  • Gene Products, env / immunology
  • Genes, env*
  • Human T-lymphotropic virus 1 / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotides / chemistry
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Restriction Mapping


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Epitopes
  • Gene Products, env
  • Oligonucleotides