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Journal Articles Molecular Biology and Evolution Year : 2017

Ancient Recombination Events between Human Herpes Simplex Viruses


Herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) are seen as close relatives but also unambiguously considered as evolutionary independent units. Here, we sequenced the genomes of 18 HSV-2 isolates characterized by divergent UL30 gene sequences to further elucidate the evolutionary history of this virus. Surprisingly, genome-wide recombination analyses showed that all HSV-2 genomes sequenced to date contain HSV-1 fragments. Using phylogenomic analyses, we could also show that two main HSV-2 lineages exist. One lineage is mostly restricted to subSaharan Africa whereas the other has reached a global distribution. Interestingly, only the worldwide lineage is characterized by ancient recombination events with HSV-1. Our findings highlight the complexity of HSV-2 evolution, a virus of putative zoonotic origin which later recombined with its human-adapted relative. They also suggest that coinfections with HSV-1 and 2 may have genomic and potentially functional consequences and should therefore be monitored more closely.

Dates and versions

hal-03886704 , version 1 (06-12-2022)



Sonia Burrel, David Boutolleau, Diane Ryu, Henri Agut, Kevin Merkel, et al.. Ancient Recombination Events between Human Herpes Simplex Viruses. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 2017, 34 (7), pp.1713--1721. ⟨10.1093/molbev/msx113⟩. ⟨hal-03886704⟩
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