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See detailInteraction of HTLV-1 Tax with minichromosome maintenance proteins accelerates the replication timing program
Boxus, Mathieu ULg; Twizere, Jean-Claude ULg; Legros, Sébastien et al

in Blood (2012), 119

The Tax oncoprotein encoded by the Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) plays a pivotal role in viral persistence and pathogenesis. HTLV-1 infected cells proliferate faster than normal lymphocytes ... [more ▼]

The Tax oncoprotein encoded by the Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) plays a pivotal role in viral persistence and pathogenesis. HTLV-1 infected cells proliferate faster than normal lymphocytes, expand through mitotic division and accumulate genomic lesions. Here, we show that Tax associates with the minichromosome maintenance MCM2-7 helicase complex and localizes to origins of replication. Tax modulates the spatiotemporal program of origin activation and fires supplementary origins at the onset of S phase. Thereby, Tax increases the DNA replication rate, accelerates S phase progression but also generates a replicative stress characterized by the presence of genomic lesions. Mechanistically, Tax favors p300 recruitment and histone hyperacetylation at late replication domains advancing their replication timing in early S phase. [less ▲]

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See detailHow the DNA damage response determines the fate of HTLV-1 Tax-expressing cells
Boxus, Mathieu ULg; Willems, Luc ULg

in Retrovirology (2012), 9(2),

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 ... [more ▼]

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. [less ▲]

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See detailHDAC5 is required for maintenance of pericentric heterochromatin, and controls cell-cycle progression and survival of human cancer cells
Peixoto, Paul ULg; Castronovo, Vincenzo ULg; Matheus, Nicolas ULg et al

in Cell Death & Differentiation (2012)

Histone deacetylases (HDACs) form a family of enzymes, which have fundamental roles in the epigenetic regulation of gene expression and contribute to the growth, differentiation, and apoptosis of cancer ... [more ▼]

Histone deacetylases (HDACs) form a family of enzymes, which have fundamental roles in the epigenetic regulation of gene expression and contribute to the growth, differentiation, and apoptosis of cancer cells. In this study, we further investigated the biological function of HDAC5 in cancer cells. We found HDAC5 is associated with actively replicating pericentric heterochromatin during late S phase. We demonstrated that specific depletion of HDAC5 by RNA interference resulted in profound changes in the heterochromatin structure and slowed down ongoing replication forks. This defect in heterochromatin maintenance and assembly are sensed by DNA damage checkpoint pathways, which triggered cancer cells to autophagy and apoptosis, and arrested their growth both in vitro and in vivo. Finally, we also demonstrated that HDAC5 depletion led to enhanced sensitivity of DNA to DNA-damaging agents, suggesting that heterochromatin de-condensation induced by histone HDAC5 silencing may enhance the efficacy of cytotoxic agents that act by targeting DNA in vitro. Together, these results highlighted for the first time an unrecognized link between HDAC5 and the maintenance/assembly of heterochromatin structure, and demonstrated that its specific inhibition might contribute to increase the efficacy of DNA alteration-based cancer therapies in clinic. [less ▲]

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See detailSafety of long-term treatment of HAM/TSP patients with valproic acid
Olindo, Stéphane; Belrose, Gildas; Gillet, Nicolas ULg et al

in Blood (2011), 118(24), 6306-6309

HTLV-Associated Myelopathy/Tropical Spastic Paraparesis (HAM/TSP) is a neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system induced by Human T lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1). As a potential ... [more ▼]

HTLV-Associated Myelopathy/Tropical Spastic Paraparesis (HAM/TSP) is a neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system induced by Human T lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1). As a potential therapeutic approach, we previously suggested reducing the proviral load (PVL) by modulating lysine deacetylase activity using valproic acid (VPA) and exposing virus-positive cells to the host immune response. We conducted a single-center, two-year open-label trial, with 19 HAM/TSP volunteers treated with oral VPA. PVL, CD38/HLA-DR expression and CD8+ lysis efficiency were not significantly affected by VPA. Mean scores of HAM/TSP disability did not differ between baseline and final visit. Walking Time Test (WTT) increased significantly (>20%) in 3 patients and was in keeping with minor VPA side effects (drowsiness and tremor). WTT improved rapidly after VPA discontinuation. We conclude that long term treatment with VPA is safe in HAM/TSP. [less ▲]

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See detailPreventive and Therapeutic Strategies for Bovine Leukemia Virus: Lessons for HTLV
Rodriguez, Sabrina ULg; Florins, Arnaud-Francois ULg; Gillet, Nicolas ULg et al

in Viruses (2011), 3(7), 1210-1248

Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) is a retrovirus closely related to the human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1). BLV is a major animal health problem worldwide causing important economic losses. A series of ... [more ▼]

Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) is a retrovirus closely related to the human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1). BLV is a major animal health problem worldwide causing important economic losses. A series of attempts were developed to reduce prevalence, chiefly by eradication of infected cattle, segregation of BLV-free animals and vaccination. Although having been instrumental in regions such as the EU, these strategies were unsuccessful elsewhere mainly due to economic costs, management restrictions and lack of an efficient vaccine. This review, which summarizes the different attempts previously developed to decrease seroprevalence of BLV, may be informative for management of HTLV-1 infection. We also propose a new approach based on competitive infection with virus deletants aiming at reducing proviral loads. [less ▲]

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See detailDisruption of PDZ protein-protein interactions inhibits Tax transformation and HTLV-1 infection capacities.
Twizere, Jean-Claude ULg; DEWULF, Jean-François; Blibek, Karim ULg et al

Poster (2011, June 06)

Human T-cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-1) encodes a Tax oncoprotein that is critical for both viral replication and cellular transformation. HTLV-1 Tax possesses a PDZ domain binding motif (PBM) at its ... [more ▼]

Human T-cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-1) encodes a Tax oncoprotein that is critical for both viral replication and cellular transformation. HTLV-1 Tax possesses a PDZ domain binding motif (PBM) at its C-terminus that is essential for its transforming activity in a Rat-1 model and for IL-2. Tax has been shown to interact with several PDZ domain containing proteins including PSD-95, Beta1-syntrophin, the precursor of interleukin-16, the mammalian homolog of the Drosophila discs large tumor suppressor protein Dlg, PDLIM2, Lin7, hTid1, Tip1, hScrib and MAGI3. In the 15th International Conference on Human Retrovirology: HTLV and Related Retroviruses, we will present a specificity map for the Tax/PDZ domain interactions generated using the human ORFeome 5.1. and we will focus on some of the new Tax/PDZ interactions. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterization of the response of GFP microbial biosensors sensitive to substrate limitation in scale-down bioreactors
Delvigne, Frank ULg; Brognaux, Alison ULg; Gorret, Nathalie et al

in Biochemical Engineering Journal (2011), 55(2), 131-139

The dynamics of microbial stress response in intensive cultivation conditions remains not completely understood. In this work, two green fluorescent protein (GFP) transcriptional reporters have been used ... [more ▼]

The dynamics of microbial stress response in intensive cultivation conditions remains not completely understood. In this work, two green fluorescent protein (GFP) transcriptional reporters have been used as biosensors of the heterogeneities generated in a two-compartment scale-down reactor. The stress promoters have been chosen for their responsiveness to carbon limitation corresponding to the global substrate profiles encountered in intensive fed-batch cultures. From our results, it can be concluded that the exposure of microbial cells to substrates heterogeneities tends to decrease the GFP expression level in fed-batch mode. Fluorescence intensities have been monitored at the single cell level by using flow cytometry. During the course of the fed-batch culture, a drop at the level of the intracellular GFP content has been observed for the two scale-down operating conditions and for the two promoters sensitive to substrate limitation (rpoS and csiE). The fluorescence drop can be attributed to the repression of these promoters but also to the release of GFP to the extracellular medium according to the increase of the fluorescence level of the supernatant. This leakage has been observed for all the operating conditions, i.e. the scale-down reactors and the culture operating in the normal mode, i.e. in a well-mixed bioreactor. Interestingly, GFP leakage is more pronounced in the case of the cultures operated in the normal mode. Indeed, staining by propidium iodide tends to be more elevated for the microbial cells cultured under the normal mode by comparison with those cultured in scale-down conditions, indicating a higher permeability of the membrane. These results suggest that GFP microbial biosensors could be used to detect simultaneously mixing imperfections and their impact on the viability of microorganisms. [less ▲]

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See detailThe HTLV-1 Tax protein inhibits formation of stress granules by interacting with histone deacetylase 6.
Legros, S.; Boxus, Mathieu ULg; Gatot, J. S. et al

in Oncogene (2011)

Human T cell leukemia virus type-1 (HTLV-1) is the causative agent of a fatal adult T-cell leukemia. Through deregulation of multiple cellular signaling pathways the viral Tax protein has a pivotal role ... [more ▼]

Human T cell leukemia virus type-1 (HTLV-1) is the causative agent of a fatal adult T-cell leukemia. Through deregulation of multiple cellular signaling pathways the viral Tax protein has a pivotal role in T-cell transformation. In response to stressful stimuli, cells mount a cellular stress response to limit the damage that environmental forces inflict on DNA or proteins. During stress response, cells postpone the translation of most cellular mRNAs, which are gathered into cytoplasmic mRNA-silencing foci called stress granules (SGs) and allocate their available resources towards the production of dedicated stress-management proteins. Here we demonstrate that Tax controls the formation of SGs and interferes with the cellular stress response pathway. In agreement with previous reports, we observed that Tax relocates from the nucleus to the cytoplasm in response to environmental stress. We found that the presence of Tax in the cytoplasm of stressed cells prevents the formation of SGs and counteracts the shutoff of specific host proteins. Unexpectedly, nuclear localization of Tax promotes spontaneous aggregation of SGs, even in the absence of stress. Mutant analysis revealed that the SG inhibitory capacity of Tax is independent of its transcriptional abilities but relies on its interaction with histone deacetylase 6, a critical component of SGs. Importantly, the stress-protective effect of Tax was also observed in the context of HTLV-1 infected cells, which were shown to be less prone to form SGs and undergo apoptosis under arsenite exposure. These observations identify Tax as the first virally encoded inhibitory component of SGs and unravel a new strategy developed by HTLV-1 to deregulate normal cell processes. We postulate that inhibition of the stress response pathway by Tax would favor cell survival under stressful conditions and may have an important role in HTLV-1-induced cellular transformation.Oncogene advance online publication, 2 May 2011; doi:10.1038/onc.2011.120. [less ▲]

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See detailReduced levels of reactive oxygen species correlate with inhibition of apoptosis, rise in thioredoxin expression and increased bovine leukemia virus proviral loads.
Bouzar, Amel ULg; Boxus, Mathieu ULg; Florins, ARNAUD-FRANCOIS ULg et al

in Retrovirology (2009), 6

BACKGROUND: Bovine Leukemia virus (BLV) is a deltaretrovirus that induces lymphoproliferation and leukemia in ruminants. In ex vivo cultures of B lymphocytes isolated from BLV-infected sheep show that ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Bovine Leukemia virus (BLV) is a deltaretrovirus that induces lymphoproliferation and leukemia in ruminants. In ex vivo cultures of B lymphocytes isolated from BLV-infected sheep show that spontaneous apoptosis is reduced. Here, we investigated the involvement of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in this process. RESULTS: We demonstrate that (i) the levels of ROS and a major product of oxidative stress (8-OHdG) are reduced, while the thioredoxin antioxidant protein is highly expressed in BLV-infected B lymphocytes, (ii) induction of ROS by valproate (VPA) is pro-apoptotic, (iii) inversely, the scavenging of ROS with N-acetylcysteine inhibits apoptosis, and finally (iv) the levels of ROS inversely correlate with the proviral loads. CONCLUSION: Together, these observations underline the importance of ROS in the mechanisms of inhibition of apoptosis linked to BLV infection. [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 detailProtein-protein interactions and gene expression regulation in HTLV-1 infected cells.
Legros, Sébastien ULg; Boxus, Mathieu ULg; Dewulf, Jean Francois et al

in Frontiers in Bioscience : A Journal and Virtual Library (2009), 14

Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) propagates in CD4 or CD8 T cells and, after extended latency periods of 30-50 years, causes a rapidly fatal leukemia called adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL ... [more ▼]

Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) propagates in CD4 or CD8 T cells and, after extended latency periods of 30-50 years, causes a rapidly fatal leukemia called adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL). Infection with HTLV-1 is also associated with a degenerative neuromuscular disease referred to as tropical spastic paraparesis or HTLV-1-associated myelopathy. HTLV genome, in addition to the structural proteins and retroviral enzymes, codes for a region at its 3' end originally designated pX. The products of this region (Tax, Rex, p12I, p13II, p30II and HBZ) play important roles in deregulation of cellular functions by either directly disrupting cellular factors or altering transcription of viral and cellular genes. Here, we will review current knowledge of protein-protein interactions that regulate transcriptional functions of proteins encoded by the pX region. [less ▲]

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See detailMechanisms of HTLV-1 persistence and transformation.
Boxus, Mathieu ULg; Willems, Luc ULg

in British Journal of Cancer (2009), 101(9), 1497-501

Adult T-cell leukaemia (ATL) is caused by the human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1). HTLV-1 has elaborated strategies to persist and replicate in the presence of a strong immune response. In ... [more ▼]

Adult T-cell leukaemia (ATL) is caused by the human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1). HTLV-1 has elaborated strategies to persist and replicate in the presence of a strong immune response. In this review, we summarise these mechanisms and their contribution to T-cell transformation and ATL development. [less ▲]

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See detailBioreactor mixing efficiency modulates the activity of a prpoS::gfp reporter gene in E. coli
Delvigne, Frank ULg; Boxus, Mathieu ULg; Ingels, Sophie et al

in Microbial Cell Factories (2009), 8(15),

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Extensive studies have shown that up-scaling of bioprocesses has a significant impact on the physiology of the microorganisms. Among the factors associated with the fluid dynamics of ... [more ▼]

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Extensive studies have shown that up-scaling of bioprocesses has a significant impact on the physiology of the microorganisms. Among the factors associated with the fluid dynamics of the bioreactor, concentration gradients induced by loss of the global mixing efficiency associated with the increasing scale is the main phenomena leading to strong physiological modifications at the level of the microbial population. These changes are not fully understood since they involve complex physiological mechanisms. In this work, we intend to investigate, at the single cell level, the expression of the rpoS gene associated with the stress response of E. coli. The cultures of the reporter strain have been performed in a small scale reactor as well as in a series of scaled-down bioreactors able to induce extracellular perturbations with increasing level of magnitude. RESULTS: The rpoS level has been monitored by the aim of a transcriptional reporter gene based on the synthesis of the green fluorescent protein (GFP). It has been observed that the level of GFP increases during the transition from batch to fed-batch phase. After this initial increase, the GFP content of the cell drops, primarily due to the dilution by cell division. However, a significant drop of the GFP content has been observed if using a partitioned bioreactor, for which the mixing conditions are very bad, leading to the exposure of the cells to cyclic and stochastic extracellular fluctuations. If considering the flow cytometric profile of the cell to cell GFP content, this drop has to be attributed to the appearance of segregation at the level of the GFP content among the microbial population. CONCLUSION: The generation of extracellular perturbations (in the present case, at the level of the sugar concentration and the dissolved oxygen level) has led to a drop at the level of the rpoS expression level. This drop has to be attributed to a segregation phenomenon in microbial population, with a major sub-population exhibiting a low expression level and a minor sub-population keeping its initial elevated expression level. The intensity of the segregation, as well as its time of appearance during the culture can be related to the bioreactor mixing efficiency. [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 detailThe HTLV-1 Tax interactome.
Boxus, Mathieu ULg; Twizere, Jean-Claude ULg; Legros, Sebastien et al

in Retrovirology (2008), 5

The Tax1 oncoprotein encoded by Human T-lymphotropic virus type I is a major determinant of viral persistence and pathogenesis. Tax1 affects a wide variety of cellular signalling pathways leading to ... [more ▼]

The Tax1 oncoprotein encoded by Human T-lymphotropic virus type I is a major determinant of viral persistence and pathogenesis. Tax1 affects a wide variety of cellular signalling pathways leading to transcriptional activation, proliferation and ultimately transformation. To carry out these functions, Tax1 interacts with and modulates activity of a number of cellular proteins. In this review, we summarize the present knowledge of the Tax1 interactome and propose a rationale for the broad range of cellular proteins identified so far. [less ▲]

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See detailVaccination of calves using the BRSV nucleocapsid protein in a DNA prime-protein boost strategy stimulates cell-mediated immunity and protects the lungs against BRSV replication and pathology.
Letellier, Carine; Boxus, Mathieu ULg; Rosar, Laurent et al

in Vaccine (2008), 26(37), 4840-8

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of respiratory disease in both cattle and young children. Despite the development of vaccines against bovine (B)RSV, incomplete protection and ... [more ▼]

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of respiratory disease in both cattle and young children. Despite the development of vaccines against bovine (B)RSV, incomplete protection and exacerbation of subsequent RSV disease have occurred. In order to circumvent these problems, calves were vaccinated with the nucleocapsid protein, known to be a major target of CD8(+) T cells in cattle. This was performed according to a DNA prime-protein boost strategy. The results showed that DNA vaccination primed a specific T-cell-mediated response, as indicated by both a lymphoproliferative response and IFN-gamma production. These responses were enhanced after protein boost. After challenge, mock-vaccinated calves displayed gross pneumonic lesions and viral replication in the lungs. In contrast, calves vaccinated by successive administrations of plasmid DNA and protein exhibited protection against the development of pneumonic lesions and the viral replication in the BAL fluids and the lungs. The protection correlated to the cell-mediated immunity and not to the antibody response. [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 detailEven attenuated bovine leukemia virus proviruses can be pathogenic in sheep.
Florins, Arnaud-Francois ULg; Gillet, Nicolas ULg; Boxus, Mathieu ULg et al

in Journal of virology (2007), 81(18), 10195-200

Based on a reverse genetics approach, we previously reported that bovine leukemia virus (BLV) mutants harboring deletions in the accessory R3 and G4 genes persist at very low proviral loads and are unable ... [more ▼]

Based on a reverse genetics approach, we previously reported that bovine leukemia virus (BLV) mutants harboring deletions in the accessory R3 and G4 genes persist at very low proviral loads and are unable to induce leukemia or lymphoma in sheep, indicating that these R3 and G4 gene sequences are required for pathogenesis. We now show that lymphoma can occur, albeit infrequently (1 case of 20) and after extended periods of latency (7 years). Direct sequencing and reinfection experiments demonstrated that lymphomagenesis was not due to the reversion of the mutant to the wild type. Similar observations with another type of attenuated mutant impaired in the transmembrane protein (TM) YXXL signaling motifs were made. We conclude that the R3 and G4 genes and the TM YXXL motifs are not strictly required for pathogenesis but that their integrity contributes to disease frequency and latency. [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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