Background: Human T-lymphotropic virus type-1 (HTLV-1) is a deltaretrovirus that causes adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma and is implicated in a variety of lymphocyte-mediated disorders. HTLV-1 contains both regulatory and accessory genes in four pX open reading frames. pX ORF-II encodes two proteins, p13II and p30II, which are incompletely defined in the virus life cycle or HTLV-1 pathogenesis. Proviral clones of the virus with pX ORF-II mutations diminish the ability of the virus to maintain viral loads in vivo. Exogenous expression of p30II differentially modulates CREB and Tax-responsive element-mediated transcription through its interaction with CREB-binding protein/p300 and represses tax/rex RNA nuclear export. Results: Herein, we further characterized the role of p30II in regulation of cellular gene expression, using stable p30II expression system employing lentiviral vectors to test cellular gene expression with Affymetrix U133A arrays, representing ∼33,000 human genes. Reporter assays in Jurkat T cells and RT-PCR in Jurkat and primary CD4+ T-lymphocytes were used to confirm selected gene expression patterns. Our data reveals alterations of interrelated pathways of cell proliferation, T-cell signaling, apoptosis and cell cycle in p30II expressing Jurkat T cells. In all categories, p30II appeared to be an overall repressor of cellular gene expression, while selectively increasing the expression of certain key regulatory genes. Conclusions: We are the first to demonstrate that p30II, while repressing the expression of many genes, selectively activates key gene pathways involved in T-cell signaling/activation. Collectively, our data suggests that this complex retrovirus, associated with lymphoproliferative diseases, relies upon accessory gene products to modify cellular environment to promote clonal expansion of the virus genome and thus maintain proviral loads in vivo.
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