Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) is the causative agent of leukemia/lymphoma in cattle. However, previous evidence has shown its presence in other species of livestock as well as in humans, suggesting that other species can be accidental hosts of the virus. In viral infections, receptors that are common to different animal species are proposed to be involved in cross-species infections. For BLV, AP3D1 has been proposed to be its receptor, and this protein is conserved in most mammalian species. In Colombia, BLV has been reported in cattle with high prevalence rates, but there has been no evidence of BLV infections in other animal species. In this study, we tested for the virus in sheep (n = 44) and buffaloes (n = 61) from different regions of Colombia by nested PCR, using peripheral blood samples collected from the animals. BLV was found in 25.7% of the animals tested (12 buffaloes and 15 sheep), and the results were confirmed by Sanger sequencing. In addition, to gain more information about the capacity of the virus to infect these species, the predicted interactions of AP3D1 of sheep and buffaloes with the BLV-gp51 protein were analyzed in silico. Conserved amino acids in the binding domains of the proteins were identified. The detection of BLV in sheep and buffaloes suggests circulation of the virus in multiple species, which could be involved in dissemination of the virus in mixed livestock production settings. Due to the presence of the virus in multiple species and the high prevalence rates observed, integrated prevention and control strategies in the livestock industry should be considered to decrease the spread of BLV.
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