Virus Genes. 2024 Jan 25. doi: 10.1007/s11262-024-02051-0. Online ahead of print.
Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is linked to two debilitating diseases, adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) and HTLV-1 associated myelopathy tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP), which are prevalent in various parts of the world, including the Alborz province in Iran. Understanding the prevalence and evolutionary relationships of HTLV-1 infections in these endemic areas is of utmost importance. In the realm of phylogenetic studies, long terminal repeat (LTR) region of HTLV-1 stands out as highly conserved, yet more variable compared to other gene segments. Consequently, it is the primary focus for phylogenetic analyses. Additionally, trans-activator of transcription (Tax), an oncoprotein, holds a pivotal role in the regulation of gene expression. This cross-sectional study delved into the phylogenetic analysis of HTLV-1 among individuals in Alborz province of Iran. To confirm infection, we amplified partial sequence LTR (PLTR) and HTLV-1 bZIP factor (PHBZ). For phylogenetic analysis, we sequenced the full sequence LTR (FLTR) and full Tax sequence (FTax). The FLTR and FTax sequences underwent analysis using BioEdit, and phylogenetic trees were constructed using MEGA-X software. Out of the roughly 15,000 annual blood donors in Alborz, 19 samples tested positive for HTLV-1, indicating a 0.13% HTLV-1 positivity rate among blood donors. Furthermore, the HTLV-1 virus prevalent in the Alborz province belongs to subtype A (cosmopolitan) subgroup A. The findings revealed that while mutations were observed in both the LTR and Tax genes, they were not significant enough to bring about fundamental alterations. Despite positive selection detected in three Alborz isolates, it has not led to mutations affecting Tax function and virulence.