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See detailVaccination against delta-Retroviruses: The Bovine Leukemia Virus Paradigm.
Gutierrez, Geronimo; Rodriguez, Sabrina M.; De Brogniez, Alix ULg et al

in Viruses (2014), 6(6), 2416-2427

Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) and human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) are closely related d-retroviruses that induce hematological diseases. HTLV-1 infects about 15 million people worldwide, mainly ... [more ▼]

Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) and human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) are closely related d-retroviruses that induce hematological diseases. HTLV-1 infects about 15 million people worldwide, mainly in subtropical areas. HTLV-1 induces a wide spectrum of diseases (e.g., HTLV-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis) and leukemia/lymphoma (adult T-cell leukemia). Bovine leukemia virus is a major pathogen of cattle, causing important economic losses due to a reduction in production, export limitations and lymphoma-associated death. In the absence of satisfactory treatment for these diseases and besides the prevention of transmission, the best option to reduce the prevalence of d-retroviruses is vaccination. Here, we provide an overview of the different vaccination strategies in the BLV model and outline key parameters required for vaccine efficacy. [less ▲]

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See detailDeep sequencing reveals abundant non-canonical retroviral microRNAs in B-cell leukemia/lymphoma
Rosewick, Nicolas; Momont, Mélanie ULg; Durkin, Keith ULg et al

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2013)

Viral tumor models have significantly contributed to our understanding of oncogenic mechanisms. How transforming delta-retroviruses induce malignancy however remains poorly understood, especially as viral ... [more ▼]

Viral tumor models have significantly contributed to our understanding of oncogenic mechanisms. How transforming delta-retroviruses induce malignancy however remains poorly understood, especially as viral mRNA/protein are tightly silenced in tumors. Here, using deep sequencing of broad windows of small RNA sizes in the Bovine Leukemia Virus ovine model of leukemia/lymphoma, we provide in vivo evidence of the production of non-canonical Pol IIItranscribed viral microRNAs in leukemic B-cells in the complete absence of Pol II 5’ LTR-driven transcriptional activity. Processed from a cluster of five independent self-sufficient transcriptional units located in a proviral region dispensable for in vivo infectivity, BLV microRNAs represent ~ 40 % of all microRNAs in both experimental and natural malignancy. They are subject to strong purifying selection and associate with Argonautes, consistent with a critical function in silencing of important cellular and/or viral targets. BLV microRNAs are strongly expressed in preleukemic and malignant cells in which structural and regulatory gene expression is repressed, suggesting a key role in tumor onset and progression. Understanding how Pol III-dependent microRNAs subvert cellular and viral pathways will contribute in deciphering the intricate perturbations that underlie malignant transformation. [less ▲]

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See detailHost-pathogen interactome mapping for HTLV-1 and -2 retroviruses.
Simonis, Nicolas; Rual, Jean-Francois; Lemmens, Irma et al

in Retrovirology (2012), 9

BACKGROUND: Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and type 2 both target T lymphocytes, yet induce radically different phenotypic outcomes. HTLV-1 is a causative agent of Adult T-cell leukemia (ATL ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and type 2 both target T lymphocytes, yet induce radically different phenotypic outcomes. HTLV-1 is a causative agent of Adult T-cell leukemia (ATL), whereas HTLV-2, highly similar to HTLV-1, causes no known overt disease. HTLV gene products are engaged in a dynamic struggle of activating and antagonistic interactions with host cells. Investigations focused on one or a few genes have identified several human factors interacting with HTLV viral proteins. Most of the available interaction data concern the highly investigated HTLV-1 Tax protein. Identifying shared and distinct host-pathogen protein interaction profiles for these two viruses would enlighten how they exploit distinctive or common strategies to subvert cellular pathways toward disease progression. RESULTS: We employ a scalable methodology for the systematic mapping and comparison of pathogen-host protein interactions that includes stringent yeast two-hybrid screening and systematic retest, as well as two independent validations through an additional protein interaction detection method and a functional transactivation assay. The final data set contained 166 interactions between 10 viral proteins and 122 human proteins. Among the 166 interactions identified, 87 and 79 involved HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 -encoded proteins, respectively. Targets for HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 proteins implicate a diverse set of cellular processes including the ubiquitin-proteasome system, the apoptosis, different cancer pathways and the Notch signaling pathway. CONCLUSIONS: This study constitutes a first pass, with homogeneous data, at comparative analysis of host targets for HTLV-1 and -2 retroviruses, complements currently existing data for formulation of systems biology models of retroviral induced diseases and presents new insights on biological pathways involved in retroviral infection. [less ▲]

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See detailThe AP-1 binding sites located in the pol gene intragenic regulatory region of HIV-1 are important for viral replication.
Colin, Laurence; Vandenhoudt, Nathalie; de Walque, Stephane et al

in PLoS ONE (2011), 6(4), 19084

Our laboratory has previously identified an important intragenic region in the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) genome, whose complete functional unit is composed of the 5103 fragment, the ... [more ▼]

Our laboratory has previously identified an important intragenic region in the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) genome, whose complete functional unit is composed of the 5103 fragment, the DNaseI-hypersensitive site HS7 and the 5105 fragment. These fragments (5103 and 5105) both exhibit a phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA)-inducible enhancer activity on the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase promoter. Here, we characterized the three previously identified AP-1 binding sites of fragment 5103 by showing the PMA-inducible in vitro binding and in vivo recruitment of c-Fos, JunB and JunD to this fragment located at the end of the pol gene. Functional analyses demonstrated that the intragenic AP-1 binding sites are fully responsible for the PMA-dependent enhancer activity of fragment 5103. Moreover, infection of T-lymphoid Jurkat and promonocytic U937 cells with wild-type and mutant viruses demonstrated that mutations of the intragenic AP-1 sites individually or in combination altered HIV-1 replication. Importantly, mutations of the three intragenic AP-1 sites led to a decreased in vivo recruitment of RNA polymerase II to the viral promoter, strongly supporting that the deleterious effect of these mutations on viral replication occurs, at least partly, at the transcriptional level. Single-round infections of monocyte-derived macrophages confirmed the importance of intragenic AP-1 sites for HIV-1 infectivity. [less ▲]

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See detailPreclinical evidence for a beneficial impact of valproate on the response of small cell lung cancer to first-line chemotherapy
Hubaux, Roland; Vandermeers, Fabian ULg; Crisanti, Cecilia et al

in European Journal of Cancer (2010), 46

Prognosis of small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) is particularly poor, less than 5% of patients with extensive stage being alive after two years.We hypothesized that SCLC chemotherapy could be improved by ... [more ▼]

Prognosis of small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) is particularly poor, less than 5% of patients with extensive stage being alive after two years.We hypothesized that SCLC chemotherapy could be improved by using histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors based on their ability to interfere with lysine acetylation and to alter gene expression. The goal of this study was to evaluate the anticancer efficacy of a HDAC inhibitor (valproate: VPA) on SCLC cells in combination with the standard chemotherapeutic first-line regimen (cisplatin + etoposide). We show that VPA induces apoptosis of small cell lung cancer cell lines and improves efficacy of cisplatin combined with etoposide. Both mitochondrial and death receptor pathways are involved in VPA-induced apoptosis. As expected for an HDAC inhibitor, VPA hyperacetylates histone H3. The mechanism of VPA pro-apoptotic activity involves induction of p21, inhibition of Bcl-xL, cleavage of Bid and phosphorylation of Erk and H2AX. In the presence of VPA, Bax is translocated from the cytoplasm to the mitochondria and cleaved in an 18 kDa isoform. Cytochrome c is released from the mitochondria into the cytosol. Transcriptomic analyses by microarray show that VPA modulates transcription of genes (Na+/ K+ ATPase, Bcl-xL) involved in chemoresistance to cisplatin and etoposide. Finally, the efficacy of VPA combined with cisplatin and etoposide is supported by preclinical models of SCLC cells engrafted into SCID mice. Together, these data demonstrate that VPA augments anticancer activity of cisplatin and etoposide, two components of the standard first-line chemotherapy of small cell lung cancer. [less ▲]

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See detailGene activation therapy: from the BLV model to HAM/TSP patients.
Lezin, Agnes; Olindo, Stephane; Belrose, Gildas et al

in Frontiers in Bioscience (Scholar Edition) (2009), 1

HTLV-1 (human T-lymphotropic virus type 1) and BLV (bovine leukemia virus) are two related retroviruses infecting CD4+ and B lymphocytes in humans and ruminants, respectively. During infection, the host ... [more ▼]

HTLV-1 (human T-lymphotropic virus type 1) and BLV (bovine leukemia virus) are two related retroviruses infecting CD4+ and B lymphocytes in humans and ruminants, respectively. During infection, the host-pathogen interplay is characterized by very dynamic kinetics resulting in equilibrium between the virus, which attempts to proliferate, and the immune response, which seeks to exert tight control of the virus. A major determinant of disease induction by both viruses is the accumulation of provirus in peripheral blood. In the absence of viral proteins, virus infected cells escape recognition and destruction by the host immune response. We propose a novel therapeutic strategy based on transient activation of viral expression using epigenetic modulators; this exposes infected cells to the immune response and results in significant reductions in proviral loads. In the absence of satisfactory therapies, this viral gene-activation strategy might delay progression, or even be curative, for HTLV-1 induced myelopathy / tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). [less ▲]

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See detailEarlier onset of delta-retrovirus-induced leukemia after splenectomy.
Florins, ARNAUD-FRANCOIS ULg; Reichert, Michal; Asquith, Becca et al

in PLoS ONE (2009), 4(9), 6943

Infection by delta-retroviruses such as human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and bovine leukemia virus (BLV) is mostly asymptomatic. Indeed, only a minority (<5%) of delta-retrovirus infected hosts ... [more ▼]

Infection by delta-retroviruses such as human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and bovine leukemia virus (BLV) is mostly asymptomatic. Indeed, only a minority (<5%) of delta-retrovirus infected hosts will develop either lymphoproliferative or neurodegenerative diseases after long latency periods. In fact, the host immune response is believed to tightly control viral replication but this assumption has not been definitely proven in vivo. Here, we provide direct experimental evidence demonstrating that integrity of the spleen is required to control pathogenesis. In the BLV model, we show that asplenia decreases efficiency of the immune response and induces an imbalance in cell dynamics resulting in accelerated onset of leukemia. These observations enlighten a potential threat in splenectomized HTLV-1 carriers and justify a regular preventive evaluation. [less ▲]

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See detailSynergistic activation of HIV-1 expression by deacetylase inhibitors and prostratin: implications for treatment of latent infection
Reuse, sophie; Calao, Miriam; Kabeya, Kabamba et al

in PLoS ONE (2009), 4(6), 6093

The persistence of transcriptionally silent but replication-competent HIV-1 reservoirs in Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART)-treated infected individuals, represents a major hurdle to virus ... [more ▼]

The persistence of transcriptionally silent but replication-competent HIV-1 reservoirs in Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART)-treated infected individuals, represents a major hurdle to virus eradication. Activation of HIV-1 gene expression in these cells together with an efficient HAART has been proposed as an adjuvant therapy aimed at decreasing the pool of latent viral reservoirs. Using the latently-infected U1 monocytic cell line and latently-infected J-Lat T-cell clones, we here demonstrated a strong synergistic activation of HIV-1 production by clinically used histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs) combined with prostratin, a non-tumor-promoting nuclear factor (NF)- kappaB inducer. In J-Lat cells, we showed that this synergism was due, at least partially, to the synergistic recruitment of unresponsive cells into the expressing cell population. A combination of prostratin+HDACI synergistically activated the 5' Long Terminal Repeat (5'LTR) from HIV-1 Major group subtypes representing the most prevalent viral genetic forms, as shown by transient transfection reporter assays. Mechanistically, HDACIs increased prostratin-induced DNA-binding activity of nuclear NF-kappaB and degradation of cytoplasmic NF-kappaB inhibitor, IkappaBalpha . Moreover, the combined treatment prostratin+HDACI caused a more pronounced nucleosomal remodeling in the U1 viral promoter region than the treatments with the compounds alone. This more pronounced remodeling correlated with a synergistic reactivation of HIV-1 transcription following the combined treatment prostratin+HDACI, as demonstrated by measuring recruitment of RNA polymerase II to the 5'LTR and both initiated and elongated transcripts. The physiological relevance of the prostratin+HDACI synergism was shown in CD8(+)-depleted peripheral blood mononuclear cells from HAART-treated patients with undetectable viral load. Moreover, this combined treatment reactivated viral replication in resting CD4(+) T cells isolated from similar patients. Our results suggest that combinations of different kinds of proviral activators may have important implications for reducing the size of latent HIV-1 reservoirs in HAART-treated patients. [less ▲]

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See detailValproate synergizes with purine nucleoside analogues to induce apoptosis of B-chronic lymphocytic leukaemia cells.
Bouzar, Amel ULg; Boxus, Mathieu ULg; Defoiche, Julien et al

in British journal of haematology (2009), 144(1),

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See detailValproate, in combination with pemetrexed and cisplatin, provides additional efficacy to the treatment of malignant mesothelioma.
Vandermeers, Fabian ULg; Hubert, Pascale ULg; Delvenne, Philippe ULg et al

in Clinical Cancer Research : An Official Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (2009), 15(8), 2818-28

PURPOSE: Present chemotherapeutic regimens are marginally efficient in tumor cells being particularly resistant to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy. We hypothesized that unresponsiveness of tumors to ... [more ▼]

PURPOSE: Present chemotherapeutic regimens are marginally efficient in tumor cells being particularly resistant to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy. We hypothesized that unresponsiveness of tumors to conventional therapeutic agents might be due to inappropriate gene expression resulting from epigenetic modifications and leading to transcriptional silencing. The goal of this study was to evaluate the anticancer effect of a histone deacetylase inhibitor, valproate, on mesothelioma cells in combination with pemetrexed and cisplatin, the usual first-line regimen of chemotherapy for this tumor. Experimental Design and RESULTS: We show that valproate augments apoptosis induced by pemetrexed and cisplatin in mesothelioma cell lines and in tumor cells from patient's biopsies. Onset of apoptosis involves both extrinsic and intrinsic pathways requiring enzymatic activities of caspases 8 and 9, respectively. Valproate but not suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid efficiently stimulates the production of reactive oxygen species. The free radical scavenger N-acetylcysteine inhibits apoptosis, indicating that reactive oxygen species are major mediators of valproate activity. As expected, valproate alone or combined with pemetrexed and cisplatin triggers hyperacetylation of histone H3. Bid protein processing in truncated t-Bid and cytochrome c release from mitochondria are significantly increased in the presence of valproate, providing a mechanistic rationale for improvement of the proapoptotic efficacy of cisplatin and pemetrexed. Finally, valproate when combined with pemetrexed and cisplatin prevents tumor growth in mouse models of epithelioid mesothelioma. CONCLUSIONS: These observations support the potential additional efficacy of valproate in combination with pemetrexed and cisplatin for treatment of malignant mesothelioma. [less ▲]

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See detailEmphasis on cell turnover in two hosts infected by bovine leukemia virus: a rationale for host susceptibility to disease.
Florins, Arnaud-Francois ULg; Boxus, Mathieu ULg; Vandermeers, Fabian ULg et al

in Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology (2008), 125(1-2), 1-7

Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) is a deltaretrovirus that infects and induces accumulation of B-lymphocytes in the peripheral blood and lymphoid tissues of cattle, leading to leukemia/lymphoma. BLV can also ... [more ▼]

Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) is a deltaretrovirus that infects and induces accumulation of B-lymphocytes in the peripheral blood and lymphoid tissues of cattle, leading to leukemia/lymphoma. BLV can also be experimentally transmitted to sheep, in which disease appears earlier and at higher frequencies. Abnormal accumulation of leukemic B-lymphocytes results from an alteration of different parameters that include cell proliferation and death as well as migration to lymphoid tissues. Interestingly, B lymphocyte turnover is increased in BLV-infected sheep but reduced in cattle, revealing a potential relationship between cell kinetics and disease progression. [less ▲]

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See detailReduction of B cell turnover in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
Defoiche, Julien; Debacq, Christophe; Asquith, Becca et al

in British Journal of Haematology (2008), 143(2), 240-7

Whether chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is a latent or a proliferating disease has been intensively debated. Whilst the dogma that CLL results from accumulation of dormant lymphocytes is supported by ... [more ▼]

Whether chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is a latent or a proliferating disease has been intensively debated. Whilst the dogma that CLL results from accumulation of dormant lymphocytes is supported by the unresponsiveness of leukaemic cells to antigens and polyclonal activators, recent in vivo kinetic measurements indicate that B lymphocytes do divide at significant rates in CLL. However, an important and still unanswered question is whether CLL cells proliferate faster or slower compared with their normal counterparts. This report addressed directly this point and compared B-cell kinetics in CLL subjects and healthy controls, using a pulse-chase approach based on incorporation of deuterium from 6,6-(2)H(2)-glucose into DNA. We confirmed that B cells proliferated at significant levels in CLL but found that the proliferation rates were reduced compared with healthy subjects (mean 0.47 vs. 1.31%/d respectively, P = 0.007), equivalent to an extended doubling time of circulating B cells (147 d vs. 53 d). In conclusion, CLL B cells proliferate at reduced levels compared with healthy controls. CLL is thus characterized by an aberrant B-cell kinetics with a decrease in cell turnover, an observation that may impact on elaboration of efficient therapeutic strategies. [less ▲]

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See detailMechanisms of leukemogenesis induced by bovine leukemia virus: prospects for novel anti-retroviral therapies in human.
Gillet, Nicolas ULg; Florins, Arnaud-Francois ULg; Boxus, Mathieu ULg et al

in Retrovirology (2007), 4(1), 18

In 1871, the observation of yellowish nodules in the enlarged spleen of a cow was considered to be the first reported case of bovine leukemia. The etiological agent of this lymphoproliferative disease ... [more ▼]

In 1871, the observation of yellowish nodules in the enlarged spleen of a cow was considered to be the first reported case of bovine leukemia. The etiological agent of this lymphoproliferative disease, bovine leukemia virus (BLV), belongs to the deltaretrovirus genus which also includes the related human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1). This review summarizes current knowledge of this viral system, which is important as a model for leukemogenesis. Recently, the BLV model has also cast light onto novel prospects for therapies of HTLV induced diseases, for which no satisfactory treatment exists so far. [less ▲]

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See detailCell dynamics and immune response to BLV infection: a unifying model
Florins, Arnaud-Francois ULg; Gillet, Nicolas ULg; Asquith, Becca et al

in Frontiers in Bioscience : A Journal and Virtual Library (2007), 12

Bovine Leukemia virus (BLV) is the natural etiological agent of a lymphoproliferative disease in cattle. BLV can also be transmitted experimentally to a related ruminant species, sheep, in which the ... [more ▼]

Bovine Leukemia virus (BLV) is the natural etiological agent of a lymphoproliferative disease in cattle. BLV can also be transmitted experimentally to a related ruminant species, sheep, in which the pathogenesis is more acute. Although both susceptible species develop a strong anti-viral immune response, the virus persists indefinitely throughout life, apparently at a transcriptionally silent stage, at least in a proportion of infected cells. Soon after infection, these humoral and cytotoxic activities very efficiently abolish the viral replicative cycle, permitting only mitotic expansion of provirus-carrying cells. Short term cultures of these infected cells initially indicated that viral expression protects against spontaneous apoptosis, suggesting that leukemia is a process of accumulation of long-lived cells. This conclusion was recently reconsidered following in vivo dynamic studies based on perfusions of nucleoside (bromodeoxyuridine) or fluorescent protein markers (CFSE). In sheep, the turnover rate of infected cells is increased, suggesting that a permanent clearance process is exerted by the immune system. Lymphocyte trafficking from and to the secondary lymphoid organs is a key component in the maintenance of cell homeostasis. The net outcome of the immune selective pressure is that only cells in which the virus is transcriptionally silenced survive and accumulate, ultimately leading to lymphocytosis. Activation of viral and/or cellular expression in this silent reservoir with deacetylase inhibitors causes the collapse of the proviral loads. In other words, modulation of viral expression appears to be curative in lymphocytic sheep, an approach that might also be efficient in patients infected with the related Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1. In summary, a dynamic interplay between BLV and the host immune response modulates a complex equilibrium between (i) viral expression driving (or) favoring proliferation and (ii) viral silencing preventing apoptosis. As conclusion, we propose a hypothetical model unifying all these mechanisms. [less ▲]

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See detailHistone deacetylase mediated transcriptional activation reduces proviral loads in HTLV-1 associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis patients.
Lezin, Agnes; Gillet, Nicolas ULg; Olindo, Stephane et al

in Blood (2007), 110(10), 3722-8

Epigenetic modifications of chromatin may play a role in maintaining viral latency and thus persistence of the human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), which is responsible for HTLV-associated ... [more ▼]

Epigenetic modifications of chromatin may play a role in maintaining viral latency and thus persistence of the human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), which is responsible for HTLV-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). A major determinant of disease progression is increased peripheral blood proviral load (PVL), possibly via the accumulation of infected cells in the central nervous system (CNS) creating a damaging inflammatory response. Current therapeutic approaches that focus on reducing either cell proliferation, viral replication, or tissue invasion are still unsatisfactory. Contrasting with these inhibitory strategies, we evaluated the efficacy of a novel approach aimed, paradoxically, at activating viral gene expression to expose virus-positive cells to the host immune response. We used valproate (VPA), a histone deacetylase inhibitor that has been used for decades as a chronic, safe treatment for epileptic disorders. Based on in vitro and in vivo data, we provide evidence that transient activation of the latent viral reservoir causes its collapse, a process that may alleviate the condition of HAM/TSP. This represents the first such approach to treating HAM/TSP, using gene activation therapy to tilt the host-pathogen balance in favor of an existing antiviral response. This trial is registered at http://clinicaltrials.gov/as no. NCT00519181. [less ▲]

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See detailHuman T-cell leukemia virus type-1 Tax oncoprotein regulates G-protein signaling.
Twizere, Jean-Claude ULg; Springael, Jean-Yves; Boxus, Mathieu ULg et al

in Blood (2007), 109(3), 1051-60

Human T-cell leukemia virus type-1 (HTLV-1) is associated with adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) and neurological syndromes. HTLV-1 encodes the oncoprotein Tax-1, which modulates viral and cellular gene ... [more ▼]

Human T-cell leukemia virus type-1 (HTLV-1) is associated with adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) and neurological syndromes. HTLV-1 encodes the oncoprotein Tax-1, which modulates viral and cellular gene expression leading to T-cell transformation. Guanine nucleotide-binding proteins (G proteins) and G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) constitute the largest family of membrane proteins known and are involved in the regulation of most biological functions. Here, we report an interaction between HTLV-1 Tax oncoprotein and the G-protein beta subunit. Interestingly, though the G-protein beta subunit inhibits Tax-mediated viral transcription, Tax-1 perturbs G-protein beta subcellular localization. Functional evidence for these observations was obtained using conditional Tax-1-expressing transformed T-lymphocytes, where Tax expression correlated with activation of the SDF-1/CXCR4 axis. Our data indicated that HTLV-1 developed a strategy based on the activation of the SDF-1/CXCR4 axis in the infected cell; this could have tremendous implications for new therapeutic strategies. [less ▲]

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See detailSpleen-dependent turnover of CD11b peripheral blood B lymphocytes in bovine leukemia virus-infected sheep.
Florins, Arnaud-Francois ULg; Gillet, Nicolas ULg; Asquith, Becca et al

in Journal of virology (2006), 80(24), 11998-2008

Lymphocyte homeostasis is determined by a critical balance between cell proliferation and death, an equilibrium which is deregulated in bovine leukemia virus (BLV)-infected sheep. We have previously shown ... [more ▼]

Lymphocyte homeostasis is determined by a critical balance between cell proliferation and death, an equilibrium which is deregulated in bovine leukemia virus (BLV)-infected sheep. We have previously shown that an excess of proliferation occurs in lymphoid tissues and that the peripheral blood population is prone to increased cell death. To further understand the mechanisms involved, we evaluated the physiological role of the spleen in this accelerated turnover. To this end, B lymphocytes were labeled in vivo using a fluorescent marker (carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester), and the cell kinetic parameters (proliferation and death rates) of animals before and after splenectomy were compared. We show that the enhanced cell death observed in BLV-infected sheep is abrogated after splenectomy, revealing a key role of the spleen in B-lymphocyte dynamics. [less ▲]

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See detailThe homeobox protein MSX2 interacts with tax oncoproteins and represses their transactivation activity.
Twizere, Jean-Claude ULg; Lefebvre, Laurent; Collete, Delphine et al

in Journal of Biological Chemistry (2005), 280(33), 29804-11

Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) tax is an essential gene involved in the transcriptional activation of viral expression. Tax is also believed to be implicated in leukemogenesis because of its ability to ... [more ▼]

Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) tax is an essential gene involved in the transcriptional activation of viral expression. Tax is also believed to be implicated in leukemogenesis because of its ability to immortalize primary cells in vitro. To gain insight into the molecular pathways mediating the activities of this important gene, we identified cellular proteins interacting with Tax. By means of a two-hybrid approach, we show that Tax specifically interacts with MSX2, a general repressor of gene expression. GST pull-down experiments and co-immunoprecipitation assays further confirmed binding specificity. Furthermore, the N-terminal residues 1-79 of MSX2 are required for binding, whereas the C-terminal residues 201-267 of MSX2 do not play a critical role. Whereas the oncogenic potential of Tax in primary cells was only slightly affected by overexpression of MSX2, the other function of Tax, namely LTR-dependent transcriptional activation, was inhibited by MSX2 in human HeLa and bovine B-lymphoblastoid (BL3) cell lines. This MSX2 repression function can be counteracted by overexpression of transcription factors CREB2 and RAP74. The Tax/MSX2 interplay thus results in repression of viral transcriptional activation possibly acting as a regulatory feedback loop. Importantly, this viral gene silencing is not strictly associated with a concomitant loss of Tax oncogenicity as measured by its ability to immortalize primary cells. And interestingly, MSX2 also interacts with and inhibits the transactivation function of the related Tax1 protein encoded by the Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1). [less ▲]

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See detailValproate activates bovine leukemia virus gene expression, triggers apoptosis, and induces leukemia/lymphoma regression in vivo.
Achachi, Amine; Florins, Arnaud-Francois ULg; Gillet, Nicolas ULg et al

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2005), 102(29), 10309-14

Leukemogenic viruses like human T-lymphotropic virus and bovine leukemia virus (BLV) presumably persist in the host partly by latent integration of the provirus in a fraction of infected cells, leading to ... [more ▼]

Leukemogenic viruses like human T-lymphotropic virus and bovine leukemia virus (BLV) presumably persist in the host partly by latent integration of the provirus in a fraction of infected cells, leading to accumulative increase in the outgrowth of transformed cells. Furthermore, viral infection also correlates with a blockade of the apoptotic mechanisms concomitant with an apparent latency of the host cell. Conceptually, induction of viral or cellular gene expression could thus also be used as a therapeutic strategy against retroviral-associated leukemia. Here, we provide evidence that valproate, an inhibitor of deacetylases, activates BLV gene expression in transient transfection experiments and in short-term cultures of primary B-lymphocytes. In vivo, valproate injection into newly BLV-inoculated sheep did not abrogate primary infection. However, valproate treatment, in the absence of any other cytotoxic drug, was efficient for leukemia/lymphoma therapy in the sheep model leading to decreased lymphocyte numbers (respectively from 25.6, 35.7, and 46.5 x 10(3) cells per mm3 to 1.0, 10.6, and 24.3 x 10(3) cells per mm3 in three leukemic sheep) and tumor regression (from >700 cm3 to undetectable). The concept of a therapy that targets the expression of viral and cellular genes might be a promising treatment of adult T cell leukemia or tropical spastic paraparesis/human T-lymphotropic virus-associated myelopathy, diseases for which no satisfactory treatment exists so far. [less ▲]

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