Highlights on distinctive structural and functional properties of HTLV Tax proteins

Maria Grazia Romanelli, Erica Diani, Elisa Bergamo, Claudio Casoli, Vincenzo Ciminale, Françoise Bex, Umberto Bertazzoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Human T cell leukemia viruses (HTLVs) are complex human retroviruses of the Deltaretrovirus genus. Four types have been identified thus far, with HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 much more prevalent than HTLV-3 or HTLV-4. HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 possess strictly related genomic structures, but differ significantly in pathogenicity, as HTLV-1 is the causative agent of adult T cell leukemia and of HTLV-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis, whereas HTLV-2 is not associated with neoplasia. HTLVs code for a protein named Tax that is responsible for enhancing viral expression and drives cell transformation. Much effort has been invested to dissect the impact of Tax on signal transduction pathways and to identify functional differences between the HTLV Tax proteins that may explain the distinct oncogenic potential of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2. This review summarizes our current knowledge of Tax-1 and Tax-2 with emphasis on their structure, role in activation of the NF-κB (nuclear factor kappa-B) pathway, and interactions with host factors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Volume4
Issue numberSEP
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • HTLV
  • NF-κB
  • Signal transduction
  • Tax proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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