Role of microRNAs in HTLV-1 infection and transformation

Katia Ruggero, Alberto Corradin, Paola Zanovello, Alberto Amadori, Vincenzo Bronte, Vincenzo Ciminale, Donna M. D'Agostino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1), a retrovirus that infects more than 20 million people worldwide, is the etiological agent of ATLL (adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma), an aggressive leukemia of CD4+ T lymphocytes which arises in a small percentage of infected individuals after a long clinical latency. Tumor emergence is attributed primarily to the oncogenic activity of the viral protein Tax, which drives the expression of viral transcripts and controls the expression and function of a broad variety of host-cell genes involved in proliferation, genetic stability and apoptosis. Nevertheless, many aspects of HTLV-1 replication, persistence and pathogenesis remain to be understood. The emerging role of microRNAs in tumor development and viral infection has prompted investigations on the interactions between HTLV-1 and the microRNA regulatory network.In the present review we discuss recent data demonstrating changes in cellular microRNA expression in HTLV-1-infected cell lines and ATLL cells, and the functional impact of a subset microRNAs deregulated by HTLV-1 on cellular gene expression and signal transduction pathways. Mechanisms through which the viral proteins may influence microRNA expression are discussed. Results of searches for potential cellular microRNAs that target viral transcripts and for microRNAs produced by HTLV-1 are described. Observations along with regarding the expression of tRNA-derived small regulatory RNAs in HTLV-1-infected cells are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-382
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular Aspects of Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • HTLV-1
  • Leukemia
  • MicroRNA
  • Tax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Medicine(all)


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