NF-kappaB1 deficiency promotes macrophage-derived adrenal tumors but decreases neurofibromas in HTLV-I LTR-Tax transgenic mice

by | May 10, 2024 | Publications

PLoS One. 2024 May 9;19(5):e0303138. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0303138. eCollection 2024.


Human T-cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-I) is an oncogenic virus whose infection can cause diverse diseases, most notably adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL or ATLL), an aggressive and fatal malignancy of CD4 T cells. The oncogenic ability of HTLV-I is mostly attributed to the viral transcriptional transactivator Tax. Tax alone is sufficient to induce specific tumors in mice depending on the promotor used to drive Tax expression, thereby being used to understand HTLV-I tumorigenesis and model the tumor types developed in Tax transgenic mice. Tax exerts its oncogenic role predominantly by activating the cellular transcription factor NF-κB. Here, we report that genetic deletion of NF-κB1, the prototypic member of the NF-κB family, promotes adrenal medullary tumors but suppresses neurofibromas in mice with transgenic Tax driven by the HTLV-I Long Terminal Repeat (LTR) promoter. The adrenal tumors are derived from macrophages. Neoplastic macrophages also infiltrate the spleen and lymph nodes, causing splenomegaly and lymphadenopathy in mice. Nevertheless, the findings could be human relevant, because macrophages are important target cells of HTLV-I infection and serve as a virus reservoir in vivo. Moreover, the spleen, lymph nodes and adrenal glands are the most common sites of tumor cell infiltration in HTLV-I-infected patients. These data provide new mechanistic insights into the complex interaction between Tax and NF-κB, therefore improving our understanding of HTLV-I oncogenic pathogenesis. They also expand our knowledge and establish a new animal model of macrophage neoplasms and adrenal tumors.

PMID:38722890 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0303138

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