Article

How the DNA damage response determines the fate of HTLV-1 Tax-expressing cells.

National Fund for Scientific Research, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech and Interdisciplinary Cluster for Applied Genoproteomics (GIGA), University of Liège, Belgium.
Retrovirology (Impact Factor: 5.66). 01/2012; 9:2. DOI: 10.1186/1742-4690-9-2
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT How the Human T lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) Tax protein stimulates proliferation while triggering cell cycle arrest and senescence remains puzzling. There is also a debate about the ability of Tax to activate or inhibit the DNA damage response. Here, we comment on these different activities and propose a conceptual rationale for the apparently conflicting observations.

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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Retroviruses HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 have homologous genomic structures but differ significantly in pathogenicity. HTLV-1 is associated with Adult T cell Leukemia (ATL), whereas infection by HTLV-2 has no association with neoplasia. Transformation of T lymphocytes by HTLV-1 is linked to the capacity of its oncoprotein Tax-1 to alter cell survival and cell cycle control mechanisms. Among these functions, Tax-1-mediated activation of cellular gene expression via the NF-kappaB pathway depends on Tax-1 post-translational modifications by ubiquitination and sumoylation. The Tax-2 protein of HTLV-2B (Tax-2B) is also modified by ubiquitination and sumoylation and activates the NF-kappaB pathway to a level similar to that of Tax-1. The present study aims to understand whether ubiquitination and sumoylation modifications are involved in Tax-2B-mediated activation of the NF-kappaB pathway. RESULTS: The comparison of Tax-1 and Tax-2B lysine to arginine substitution mutants revealed conserved patterns and levels of ubiquitination with notable difference in the lysine usage for sumoylation. Neither Tax-1 nor Tax-2B ubiquitination and sumoylation deficient mutants could activate the NF-kappaB pathway and fusion of ubiquitin or SUMO-1 to the C-terminus of the ubiquitination and sumoylation deficient Tax-2B mutant strikingly restored transcriptional activity. In addition, ubiquitinated forms of Tax-2B colocalized with RelA and IKKgamma in prominent cytoplasmic structures associated with the Golgi apparatus, whereas colocalization of Tax-2B with the RelA subunit of NF-kappaB and the transcriptional coactivator p300 in punctate nuclear structures was dependent on Tax-2B sumoylation, as previously observed for Tax-1. CONCLUSIONS: Both Tax-1 and Tax-2 activate the NF-kappaB pathway via similar mechanisms involving ubiquitination and sumoylation. Therefore, the different transforming potential of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 is unlikely to be related to different modes of activation of the canonical NF-kappaB pathway.
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