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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 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 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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