Front Immunol. 2022 Aug 1;13:959382. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.959382. eCollection 2022.
Eukaryotic cells employ a broad range of mechanisms to regulate gene expression. Among others, mRNA alternative splicing is a key process. It consists of introns removal from an immature mRNA (pre-mRNA) via a transesterification reaction to create a mature mRNA molecule. Large-scale genomic studies have shown that in the human genome, almost 95% of protein-encoding genes go through alternative splicing and produce transcripts with different exons combinations (and sometimes retained introns), thus increasing the proteome diversity. Considering the importance of RNA regulation in cellular proliferation, survival, and differentiation, alterations in the alternative splicing pathway have been linked to several human cancers, including adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL). ATL is an aggressive and fatal malignancy caused by the Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1). HTLV-1 genome encodes for two oncoproteins: Tax and HBZ, both playing significant roles in the transformation of infected cells and ATL onset. Here, we review current knowledge on alternative splicing and its link to cancers and reflect on how dysregulation of this pathway could participate in HTLV-1-induced cellular transformation and adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma development.