The present study employed mass sequencing of small RNA libraries to identify the repertoire of small noncoding RNAs expressed in normal CD+4 T cells compared to cells transformed with human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1), the causative agent of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL). The results revealed distinct patterns of microRNA expression in HTLV-1-infected CD+4 T-cell lines with respect to their normal counterparts. In addition, a search for virus-encoded microRNAs yielded 2 sequences that originated from the plus strand of the HTLV-1 genome. Several sequences derived from tRNAs were expressed at substantial levels in both uninfected and infected cells. One of the most abundant tRNA fragments (tRF-3019) was derived from the 3' end of tRNA-proline. tRF-3019 exhibited perfect sequence complementarity to the primer binding site of HTLV-1. The results of an in vitro reverse transcriptase assay verified that tRF-3019 was capable of priming HTLV-1 reverse transcriptase. Both tRNA-proline and tRF-3019 were detected in virus particles isolated from HTLV-1-infected cells. These findings suggest that tRF-3019 may play an important role in priming HTLV-1 reverse transcription and could thus represent a novel target to control HTLV-1 infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas