Frederic Toulza

Imperial College London, London, ENG, United Kingdom

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Publications (10)61.99 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) codes for 9 alternatively spliced transcripts and 2 major regulatory proteins named Tax and Rex that function at the transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels, respectively. We investigated the temporal sequence of HTLV-1 gene expression in primary cells from infected patients using splice site-specific quantitative RT-PCR. The results indicated a two-phase kinetics with the tax/rex mRNA preceding expression of other viral transcripts. Analysis of mRNA compartmentalization in cells transfected with HTLV-1 molecular clones demonstrated the strict Rex-dependency of the two-phase kinetics and revealed strong nuclear retention of HBZ mRNAs, supporting their function as noncoding transcripts. Mathematical modeling underscored the importance of a delay between the functions of Tax and Rex, which was supported by experimental evidence of the longer half-life of Rex. These data provide evidence for a temporal pattern of HTLV-1 expression and reveal major differences in the intracellular compartmentalization of HTLV-1 transcripts.
    Blood 03/2011; 117(18):4855-9. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    Retrovirology 01/2011; 8:1-1. · 5.66 Impact Factor
  • Charles R M Bangham, Frédéric Toulza
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    ABSTRACT: Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) causes adult T-cell leukaemia/lymphoma (ATLL) in ∼5% of HTLV-1-infected people. ATLL cells frequently express several molecules that are characteristic of regulatory T cells (Tregs), notably CD4, CD25 and the transcription factor FoxP3. It has therefore recently been suggested that HTLV-1 selectively infects and transforms Tregs. We show that HTLV-1 induces and maintains a high frequency of FoxP3+ T cells by inducing expression of the chemokine CCL22; the frequency is especially high in patients with chronic ATLL. In turn, the FoxP3+ T cells exert both potentially beneficial and harmful effects: they suppress the growth of autologous ATLL clones and may also suppress the host's cytotoxic T lymphocyte response, which normally limits HTLV-1 replication and reduces the risk of HTLV-1-associated diseases. Although ATLL cells may exert immune suppressive effects, we conclude that ATLL is not necessarily a tumour of classical FoxP3+ Tregs.
    Advances in Cancer Research 01/2011; 111:163-82. · 6.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Approximately 3% of all human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1)-infected persons will develop a disabling inflammatory disease of the central nervous system known as HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis, against which there is currently no efficient treatment. As correlation exists between the proviral load (PVL) and the clinical status of the carrier, it is thought that diminishing the PVL could prevent later occurrence of the disease. We have conducted a study combining valproate, an inhibitor of histone deacetylases, and azidothymidine, an inhibitor of reverse transcriptase, in a series of baboons naturally infected with simian T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (STLV-1), whose PVL was equivalent to that of HTLV-1 asymptomatic carriers. We show that the combination of drugs caused a strong decrease in the PVL and prevented the transient rise in PVL that is seen after treatment with histone deacetylases alone. We then demonstrate that the PVL decline was associated with an increase in the STLV-1-specific cytotoxic T-cell population. We conclude that combined treatment with valproate to induce viral expression and azidothymidine to prevent viral propagation is a safe and effective means to decrease PVL in vivo. Such treatments may be useful to reduce the risk of HAM/TSP in asymptomatic carriers with a high PVL.
    Blood 11/2010; 116(19):3802-8. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We recently reported that human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection is accompanied by a high frequency of CD4(+)FoxP3(+) cells in the circulation. In asymptomatic carriers of HTLV-1 and in patients with HTLV-1-associated inflammatory and malignant diseases, a high FoxP3(+) cell frequency correlated with inefficient cytotoxic T cell-mediated killing of HTLV-1-infected cells. In adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL), the FoxP3(+) population was distinct from the leukemic T cell clones. However, the cause of the increase in FoxP3(+) cell frequency in HTLV-1 infection was unknown. In this study, we report that the plasma concentration of the chemokine CCL22 is abnormally high in HTLV-1-infected subjects and that the concentration is strongly correlated with the frequency of FoxP3(+) cells, which express the CCL22 receptor CCR4. Further, we show that CCL22 is produced by cells that express the HTLV-1 transactivator protein Tax, and that the increased CCL22 enhances the migration and survival of FoxP3(+) cells in vitro. Finally, we show that FoxP3(+) cells inhibit the proliferation of ex vivo, autologous leukemic clones from patients with ATLL. We conclude that HTLV-1-induced CCL22 causes the high frequency of FoxP3(+) cells observed in HTLV-1 infection; these FoxP3(+) cells may both retard the progression of ATLL and HTLV-1-associated inflammatory diseases and contribute to the immune suppression seen in HTLV-1 infection, especially in ATLL.
    The Journal of Immunology 07/2010; 185(1):183-9. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is the causative agent of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL). It has been postulated that ATLL cells might act as regulatory T cells (T(regs)) which, in common with ATLL cells, express both CD25 and FoxP3, and so contribute to the severe immune suppression typical of ATLL. We report here that the frequency of CD25(+) cells varied independently of the frequency of FoxP3(+) cells in both a cross-sectional study and in a longitudinal study of 2 patients with chronic ATLL. Furthermore, the capacity of ATLL cells to suppress proliferation of heterologous CD4(+)CD25(-) cells correlated with the frequency of CD4(+) FoxP3(+) cells but was independent of CD25 expression. Finally, the frequency of CD4(+)FoxP3(+) cells was inversely correlated with the lytic activity of HTLV-1-specific CTLs in patients with ATLL. We conclude that ATLL is not a tumor of FoxP3(+) regulatory T cells, and that a population of FoxP3(+) cells distinct from ATLL cells has regulatory functions and may impair the cell-mediated immune response to HTLV-1 in patients with ATLL.
    International Journal of Cancer 07/2009; 125(10):2375-82. · 6.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) play a central role in the protective immune response to human T-lymphotropic virus 1 (HTLV-1). Here we consider two questions. First, what determines the strength of an individual's HTLV-1-specific CTL response? Second, what controls the rate of expression of HTLV-1 in vivo, which is greater in patients with HAM/TSP than in asymptomatic carriers with the same proviral load? Recent evidence shows that FoxP3+CD4+ T cells are abnormally frequent in HTLV-1 infection, and the frequency of these cells is inversely correlated with the rate of CTL lysis of HTLV-1-infected cells, suggesting that FoxP3+CD4+ cell frequency is an important determinant of the outcome of HTLV-1 infection. There is also new evidence that the rate of expression of HTLV-1 in vivo is associated with the transcriptional activity of the flanking host genome. We suggest that the frequencies of HTLV-1-infected T cell clones in vivo are determined by a dynamic balance between positive and negative selection forces that differ among the clones.
    Frontiers in Bioscience 02/2009; 14:2889-903. · 3.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence from population genetics, gene expression microarrays, and assays of ex vivo T-cell function indicates that the cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response to human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) controls the level of HTLV-1 expression and the proviral load. The rate at which CTLs kill autologous HTLV-1-infected lymphocytes differs significantly among infected people, but the reasons for such variation are unknown. Here, we demonstrate a strong negative cor-relation between the frequency of CD4(+)FoxP3(+) Tax(-) regulatory T cells (T(regs)) in the circulation and the rate of CTL-mediated lysis of autologous HTLV-1-infected cells ex vivo. We propose that the frequency of CD4(+)FoxP3(+) Tax(-) T(regs) is one of the chief determinants of the efficiency of T cell-mediated immune control of HTLV-1.
    Blood 06/2008; 111(10):5047-53. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    Retrovirology 8(1). · 5.66 Impact Factor