“It’s Only a Model”: When Protein Structure Predictions Need Experimental Validation, the Case of the HTLV-1 Tax Protein

by | Mar 27, 2024 | Publications

Pathogens. 2024 Mar 8;13(3):241. doi: 10.3390/pathogens13030241.


Human T-cell Leukemia Virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is a human retrovirus responsible for leukaemia in 5 to 10% of infected individuals. Among the viral proteins, Tax has been described as directly involved in virus-induced leukemogenesis. Tax is therefore an interesting therapeutic target. However, its 3D structure is still unknown and this hampers the development of drug-design-based therapeutic strategies. Several algorithms are available that can be used to predict the structure of proteins, particularly with the recent appearance of artificial intelligence (AI)-driven pipelines. Here, we review how the structure of Tax is predicted by several algorithms using distinct modelling strategies. We discuss the consequences for the understanding of Tax structure/function relationship, and more generally for the use of structure models for modular and/or flexible proteins, which are frequent in retroviruses.

PMID:38535584 | DOI:10.3390/pathogens13030241

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