Retroviral interference on STAT activation in individuals coinfected with human T cell leukemia virus type 2 and HIV-1

Chiara Bovolenta, Elisabetta Pilotti, Massimiliano Mauri, Barbara Panzeri, Monica Sassi, PierPaolo Dall'Aglio, Umberto Bertazzoni, Guido Poli, Claudio Casoli

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Human T cell leukemia virus (HTLV) type-2 is a human retrovirus whose infection has not been tightly linked to human diseases. However, the fairly high prevalence of this infection among HIV-1-positive individuals indicates the importance of better understanding the potential interference of HTLV-2 infection on HIV-1 infection and AIDS. We previously demonstrated that one signature of PBMC freshly derived from HIV-1-infected individuals is the constitutive activation of a C-terminal truncated STAT5 (STAT5Δ). Therefore, we analyzed the potential activation of STATs in HTLV-2 monoinfected and HTLV-2/HIV-1 dually infected individuals. We observed that PBMC of HTLV-2-infected individuals do not show STAT activation unless they are cultivated ex vivo, in the absence of any mitogenic stimuli, for at least 8 h. The emergence of STAT activation, namely of STAT1, in culture was mostly related to the secretion of IFN-γ. Of note, this phenomenon is not only a characteristic feature of HTLV-2-infected individuals but also occurred with PBMC of HIV-1+ individuals. Surprisingly, HTLV-2/HIV-1 coinfection resulted in low/absent STAT activation in vivo that paralleled a diminished secretion of IFN-γ after ex vivo cultivation. Our findings indicate that both HTLV-2 and HIV-1 infection prime T lymphocytes for STAT1 activation, but they also highlight an interference exerted by HTLV-2 on HIV-1-induced STAT1 activation. Although the nature of such a phenomenon is unclear at the present, these findings support the hypothesis that HTLV-2 may interfere with HIV-1 infection at multiple levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4443-4449
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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