HTLV-1 Tax Tug-of-War: Cellular Senescence and Death or Cellular Transformation

by | Jan 26, 2024 | Publications

Pathogens. 2024 Jan 19;13(1):87. doi: 10.3390/pathogens13010087.


Human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is a retrovirus associated with a lymphoproliferative disease known as adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL). HTLV-1 infection efficiently transforms human T cells in vivo and in vitro. The virus does not transduce a proto-oncogene, nor does it integrate into tumor-promoting genomic sites. Instead, HTLV-1 uses a random mutagenesis model, resulting in cellular transformation. Expression of the viral protein Tax is critical for the immortalization of infected cells by targeting specific cellular signaling pathways. However, Tax is highly immunogenic and represents the main target for the elimination of virally infected cells by host cytotoxic T cells (CTLs). In addition, Tax expression in naïve cells induces pro-apoptotic signals and has been associated with the induction of non-replicative cellular senescence. This review will explore these conundrums and discuss the mechanisms used by the Tax viral oncoprotein to influence life-and-death cellular decisions and affect HTLV-1 pathogenesis.

PMID:38276160 | DOI:10.3390/pathogens13010087

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