The tyrosine kinase KDR is essential for the survival of HTLV-1-infected T cells by stabilizing the Tax oncoprotein

by | Jun 26, 2024 | Publications

Nat Commun. 2024 Jun 25;15(1):5380. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-49737-5.


Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection is linked to the development of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) and the neuroinflammatory disease, HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). The HTLV-1 Tax oncoprotein regulates viral gene expression and persistently activates NF-κB to maintain the viability of HTLV-1-infected T cells. Here, we utilize a kinome-wide shRNA screen to identify the tyrosine kinase KDR as an essential survival factor of HTLV-1-transformed cells. Inhibition of KDR specifically induces apoptosis of Tax expressing HTLV-1-transformed cell lines and CD4 + T cells from HAM/TSP patients. Furthermore, inhibition of KDR triggers the autophagic degradation of Tax resulting in impaired NF-κB activation and diminished viral transmission in co-culture assays. Tax induces the expression of KDR, forms a complex with KDR, and is phosphorylated by KDR. These findings suggest that Tax stability is dependent on KDR activity which could be exploited as a strategy to target Tax in HTLV-1-associated diseases.

PMID:38918393 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-024-49737-5

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