Human T-lymphotropic virus 1 (HTLV-1) immortalizes T-cells and is the causative agent of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL). HTLV-1 replication and transformation are governed by multiple interactions between viral regulatory proteins and host cell factors that remain to be fully elucidated. The present study investigated the impact of HTLV-1 infection on the expression of miR-34a, a microRNA whose expression is downregulated in many types of cancer. Results of RT-PCR assays showed that five out of six HTLV-1-positive cell lines expressed higher levels of miR-34a compared to normal PBMC or purified CD4+ T-cells. ATLL cell line ED, which did not express miR-34a, showed methylation of the miR-34a promoter. Newly infected PBMC and samples from 10 ATLL patients also showed a prominent increase in miR-34a expression compared to PBMC controls. The primary miR-34a transcript expressed in infected cell line C91PL contained binding motifs for NF-κB and p53. Pharmacological inhibition of NF-κB with Bay 11-7082 indicated that this pathway contributes to sustain miR-34a levels in infected cells. Treatment of infected cell lines with the p53 activator nutlin-3a resulted in a further increase in miR-34a levels, thus confirming it as a transcriptional target of p53. Nutlin-3a-treated cells showed downregulation of known miR-34a targets including the deacetylase SIRT1, which was accompanied by increased acetylation of p53, a substrate of SIRT1. Transfection of C91PL cells with a miR-34a mimic also led to downregulation of mRNA targets including SIRT1 as well as the pro-apoptotic factor BAX. Unlike nutlin-3a, the miR-34a mimic did not cause cell cycle arrest or reduce cell viability. On the other hand, sequestration of miR-34a with a sponge construct resulted in an increase in death of C91PL cells. These findings provide evidence for a functional role for miR-34a in fine-tuning the expression of target genes that influence the turnover of HTLV-1-infected cells.
- Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)