Ras signaling contributes to survival of human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus type 1 (HTLV-1) Tax-positive T-cells

Giovanna Stoppa, Enrica Rumiato, Daniela Saggioro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ras signaling pathways play an important role in cellular proliferation and survival, and inappropriate activation of Ras frequently results in cell transformation and cancer. Human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is the etiological agent of the adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL), a severe malignancy that has a poor prognosis and exhibits resistance to conventional chemotherapy. Although the mechanisms involved in cell transformation by HTLV-1 have not been completely clarified, it is generally thought that Tax plays a pivotal role in the process. We have previously proposed that a functionally active Ras protein is needed for efficient antiapoptotic activity of Tax. In this study we report data indicating that the apoptotic resistance of cells expressing Tax, constitutively or transiently, is linked to the intracellular levels of Ras-GTP. Indeed, we found that Tax-positive cells have a high content of active Ras, and that inhibition of Ras signaling, using the antagonist farnesyl thyosalicylic acid (FTS), increases their sensitivity to apoptosis. FTS treatment was also accompanied by a decrease in ERK, but not Akt, phosphorylation. Thus, all together our data suggest that the interaction between Tax and Ras could be important to ATLL pathogenesis, and indicate Ras as a possible target for therapeutic intervention in ATLL patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-228
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Akt
  • Apoptosis
  • ERK1/2
  • HTLV-1
  • Ras
  • Tax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Pharmacology


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