Commun Biol. 2022 Nov 29;5(1):1309. doi: 10.1038/s42003-022-04284-x.
Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) is caused by human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1). In addition to HTLV-1 bZIP factor (HBZ), a leukemogenic antisense transcript of HTLV-1, abnormalities of genes involved in TCR-NF-κB signaling, such as CARD11, are detected in about 90% of patients. Utilizing mice expressing CD4+ T cell-specific CARD11(E626K) and/or CD4+ T cell-specific HBZ, namely CARD11(E626K)CD4-Cre mice, HBZ transgenic (Tg) mice, and CARD11(E626K)CD4-Cre;HBZ Tg double transgenic mice, we clarify these genes’ pathogenetic effects. CARD11(E626K)CD4-Cre and HBZ Tg mice exhibit lymphocytic invasion to many organs, including the lungs, and double transgenic mice develop lymphoproliferative disease and increase CD4+ T cells in vivo. CARD11(E626K) and HBZ cooperatively activate the non-canonical NF-κB pathway, IRF4 targets, BATF3/IRF4/HBZ transcriptional network, MYC targets, and E2F targets. Most KEGG and HALLMARK gene sets enriched in acute-type ATL are also enriched in double transgenic mice, indicating that these genes cooperatively contribute to ATL development.