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See detailHyper-replicative bovine leukemia virus by mutation of an envelope N-linked glycosylation site
De Brogniez, Alix ULg; Bouzar, Amel-Baya; Jacques, Jean-Rock ULg et al

in Retrovirology (2014), 11(1), 141

Reverse genetics can be used in the bovine leukemia virus (BLV) system to characterize mechanisms of viral persistence and pathogenesis. The question addressed here pertains to the role of glycans bound ... [more ▼]

Reverse genetics can be used in the bovine leukemia virus (BLV) system to characterize mechanisms of viral persistence and pathogenesis. The question addressed here pertains to the role of glycans bound to the BLV envelope glycoprotein (SU). A commonly accepted hypothesis is that addition of carbohydrates to the SU protein potentially creates a structure called « glycan shield » that confers resistance to the virus against the host immune response. On the other hand, glycosylation can also modulate attachment of the virus to the cell membrane. To unravel the role of SU glycosylation, three complementary strategies were developed: pharmacological inhibition of different glycosylation pathways, interference with glycan attachment and site-directed mutagenesis of N-glycosylation sites in an infectious BLV provirus. The different approaches show that glycosylation is required for cell fusion, as expected. Simultaneous mutation of all 8 potential N-glycosylation sites destroys infectivity. Surprisingly, mutation of the asparagine residue at position 230 creates a virus having an increased capacity to form syncytia in vitro. Compared to wild-type BLV, mutant N230 also replicates at accelerated rates in vivo. Collectively, this data thus illustrates an example of a N-glycosylation site that restricts viral replication, contrasting with the hypothesis supported by glycan shield model. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Tax protein and the minichromosome maintenance protein complex MCM2-7 affect cell replication and viral transcription
Barez, Pierre-Yves ULg; Carpentier, Alexandre ULg; Boxus, Mathieu et al

in Retrovirology (2014), 11(S1), 96

The Tax oncoprotein plays a key role in the mechanisms of transformation, viral persistence and pathogenicity. Recently, we showed that Tax interacts with the minichromosome maintenance MCM2-7 helicase ... [more ▼]

The Tax oncoprotein plays a key role in the mechanisms of transformation, viral persistence and pathogenicity. Recently, we showed that Tax interacts with the minichromosome maintenance MCM2-7 helicase and binds to origins of DNA replication (Boxus et al, 2012 Blood 119:151). In fact, Tax modulates the spatiotemporal program of origin activation during the S phase of cell cycle. By this mechanism, Tax accelerates S phase progression through early firing of late replication origins. By interacting with the 5’ LTR, the MCM2-7 complex also modulates Tax transactivation. Together, our data thus demonstrates that interaction between Tax and MCM2-7 modulates reprogramming of replication origins as well as viral transcription. [less ▲]

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See detailCheckpoints modulation by the Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 Tax protein
Carpentier, Alexandre ULg; Barez, Pierre-Yves ULg; Boxus, Mathieu et al

in Retrovirology (2014), 11(S1), 90

HTLV-1 is responsible for two main diseases, Adult T-cell Leukemia/Lymphoma and HTLV-1 Associated Myelopathy/Tropical Spastic Paraparesis, for which there is currently no satisfactory treatment. Among the ... [more ▼]

HTLV-1 is responsible for two main diseases, Adult T-cell Leukemia/Lymphoma and HTLV-1 Associated Myelopathy/Tropical Spastic Paraparesis, for which there is currently no satisfactory treatment. Among the proteins encoded by HTLV-1, Tax appears to play an important role in the mechanisms leading to pathogenicity. We are interested in the mechanisms of cell transformation by Tax and more particularly in the interplay between the viral Tax oncoprotein and the DNA damage response (DDR). We demonstrated that transient expression of Tax results in DNA damage, cell cycle arrest and activation of the DDR. In fibroblasts, cell cycle arrest occurs at the G1 and G2 phases depending on the p53 background. Although Tax induces apoptosis and senescence in fibroblasts, HTLV-1 infected lymphocytes proliferate continuously and appear to be adapted to the checkpoint control. This mechanism allows infected lymphocytes to proliferate despite the presence of genomic lesions. With these observations, we propose a novel therapeutic approach based on the principle of synthetic lethality. [less ▲]

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See detailAcetylation at lysine 346 controls the transforming activity of the HTLV-1 Tax oncoprotein in the Rat-1 fibroblast model
Lodewick, Julie; Sampaio, Carla; Boxus, Mathieu et al

in Retrovirology (2013), 2013(10), 75

Background Transformation by the Tax oncoprotein of the human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is governed by actions on cellular regulatory signals, including modulation of specific cellular gene ... [more ▼]

Background Transformation by the Tax oncoprotein of the human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is governed by actions on cellular regulatory signals, including modulation of specific cellular gene expression via activation of signaling pathways, acceleration of cell cycle progression via stimulation of cyclin-dependent kinase activity leading to retinoblastoma protein (pRb) hyperphosphorylation and perturbation of survival signals. These actions control early steps in T cell transformation and development of Adult T cell leukemia (ATL), an aggressive malignancy of HTLV-1 infected T lymphocytes. Post-translational modifications of Tax by phosphorylation, ubiquitination, sumoylation and acetylation have been implicated in Tax-mediated activation of the NF-B pathway, a key function associated with Tax transforming potential. Results In this study, we demonstrate that acetylation at lysine K346 in the carboxy-terminal domain of Tax is modulated in the Tax nuclear bodies by the acetyltransferase p300 and the deacetylases HDAC5/7 and controls phosphorylation of the tumor suppressor pRb by Tax-cyclin D3-CDK4-p21CIP complexes. This property correlates with the inability of the acetylation deficient K346R mutant, but not the acetylation mimetic K346Q mutant, to promote anchorage-independent growth of Rat-1 fibroblasts. By contrast, acetylation at lysine K346 had no effects on the ability of Tax carboxy-terminal PDZ-binding domain to interact with the tumor suppressor hDLG. Conclusions The identification of the acetyltransferase p300 and the deacetylase HDAC7 as enzymes modulating Tax acetylation points to new therapeutic targets for the treatment of HTLV-1 infected patients at risk of developing ATL. [less ▲]

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See detailWIP1 deficiency inhibits HTLV-1 Tax oncogenesis: novel therapeutic prospects for treatment of ATL?
Gillet, Nicolas ULg; Carpentier, Alexandre ULg; Barez, Pierre-Yves ULg et al

in Retrovirology (2012), 9(1), 115

Attenuation of p53 activity appears to be a major step in Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) Tax transformation. However, p53 genomic mutations are late and rather infrequent events in HTLV-1 ... [more ▼]

Attenuation of p53 activity appears to be a major step in Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) Tax transformation. However, p53 genomic mutations are late and rather infrequent events in HTLV-1 induced Adult T cell leukemia (ATL). The paper by Zane et al. shows that a mediator of p53 activity, Wild-type p53-induced phosphatase 1 (Wip1), contributes to Tax-induced oncogenesis in a mouse model. Wip1 may therefore be a novel target for therapeutic approaches. [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 detailTreatment-associated polymorphisms in protease are significantly associated with higher viral load and lower CD4 count in newly diagnosed drug-naive HIV-1 infected patients.
Theys, Kristof; Deforche, Koen; Vercauteren, Jurgen et al

in Retrovirology (2012), 9

BACKGROUND: The effect of drug resistance transmission on disease progression in the newly infected patient is not well understood. Major drug resistance mutations severely impair viral fitness in a drug ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: The effect of drug resistance transmission on disease progression in the newly infected patient is not well understood. Major drug resistance mutations severely impair viral fitness in a drug free environment, and therefore are expected to revert quickly. Compensatory mutations, often already polymorphic in wild-type viruses, do not tend to revert after transmission. While compensatory mutations increase fitness during treatment, their presence may also modulate viral fitness and virulence in absence of therapy and major resistance mutations. We previously designed a modeling technique that quantifies genotypic footprints of in vivo treatment selective pressure, including both drug resistance mutations and polymorphic compensatory mutations, through the quantitative description of a fitness landscape from virus genetic sequences. RESULTS: Genotypic correlates of viral load and CD4 cell count were evaluated in subtype B sequences from recently diagnosed treatment-naive patients enrolled in the SPREAD programme. The association of surveillance drug resistance mutations, reported compensatory mutations and fitness estimated from drug selective pressure fitness landscapes with baseline viral load and CD4 cell count was evaluated using regression techniques. Protease genotypic variability estimated to increase fitness during treatment was associated with higher viral load and lower CD4 cell counts also in treatment-naive patients, which could primarily be attributed to well-known compensatory mutations at highly polymorphic positions. By contrast, treatment-related mutations in reverse transcriptase could not explain viral load or CD4 cell count variability. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that polymorphic compensatory mutations in protease, reported to be selected during treatment, may improve the replicative capacity of HIV-1 even in absence of drug selective pressure or major resistance mutations. The presence of this polymorphic variation may either reflect a history of drug selective pressure, i.e. transmission from a treated patient, or merely be a result of diversity in wild-type virus. Our findings suggest that transmitted drug resistance has the potential to contribute to faster disease progression in the newly infected host and to shape the HIV-1 epidemic at a population level. [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 14th International Conference on Human Retrovirology: HTLV and related retroviruses (July 1-4, 2009; Salvador, Brazil).
Willems, Luc ULg

in Retrovirology (2009), 6

The "14th International Conference on Human Retrovirology: HTLV and Related Retroviruses" was held in Salvador, Bahia, from July 1st to July 4th 2009. The aim of this biennial meeting is to promote ... [more ▼]

The "14th International Conference on Human Retrovirology: HTLV and Related Retroviruses" was held in Salvador, Bahia, from July 1st to July 4th 2009. The aim of this biennial meeting is to promote discussion and share new findings between researchers and clinicians for the benefit of patients infected by human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV). HTLV infects approximately 15-20 million individuals worldwide and causes a broad spectrum of diseases including neurodegeneration and leukemia. The scientific program included a breadth of HTLV research topics: epidemiology, host immune response, basic mechanisms of protein function, virology, pathogenesis, clinical aspects and treatment. Exciting new findings were presented in these different fields, and the new advances have led to novel clinical trials. Here, highlights from this conference are summarized. [less ▲]

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See detailA Dose-Effect Relationship For Deltaretrovirus-Dependent Leukemogenesis In Sheep
Pomier, Carole; Alcaraz, Maria Teresa Sanchez; Debacq, Christo^phe et al

in Retrovirology (2009), 6

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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 detailHow HTLV-1 may subvert miRNAs for persistence and transformation.
Bouzar, Amel ULg; Willems, Luc ULg

in Retrovirology (2008), 5

Distinct mechanisms are used by viruses to interact with cellular miRNAs. The role of microRNAs in viral replication and persistence ranges from viral-encoded microRNAs to suppressors of RNA interference ... [more ▼]

Distinct mechanisms are used by viruses to interact with cellular miRNAs. The role of microRNAs in viral replication and persistence ranges from viral-encoded microRNAs to suppressors of RNA interference. Viruses can also exploit cellular miRNAs for influencing cellular metabolism to ensure efficient replication or latency. In particular, two recent studies provide examples of how HTLV-1 may co-opt or subvert cellular miRNAs for persistent replication and oncogenic purposes. The pathways modulated by these described miRNAs are critically involved in apoptosis, proliferation and innate immune response. [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 detailEarly and transient reverse transcription during primary deltaretroviral infection of sheep.
Pomier, Carole; Alcaraz, Maria Teresa Sanchez; Debacq, Christophe et al

in Retrovirology (2008), 5

BACKGROUND: Intraindividual genetic variability plays a central role in deltaretrovirus replication and associated leukemogenesis in animals as in humans. To date, the replication of these viruses has ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Intraindividual genetic variability plays a central role in deltaretrovirus replication and associated leukemogenesis in animals as in humans. To date, the replication of these viruses has only been investigated during the chronic phase of the infection when they mainly spread through the clonal expansion of their host cells, vary through a somatic mutation process without evidence for reverse transcriptase (RT)-associated substitution. Primary infection of a new organism necessary involves allogenic cell infection and thus reverse transcription. RESULTS: Here we demonstrate that the primary experimental bovine leukemia virus (BLV) infection of sheep displays an early and intense burst of horizontal replicative dissemination of the virus generating frequent RT-associated substitutions that account for 69% of the in vivo BLV genetic variability during the first 8 months of the infection. During this period, evidence has been found of a cell-to-cell passage of a mutated sequence and of a sequence having undergone both RT-associated and somatic mutations. The detection of RT-dependent proviral substitution was restricted to a narrow window encompassing the first 250 days following seroconversion. CONCLUSION: In contrast to lentiviruses, deltaretroviruses display two time-dependent mechanisms of genetic variation that parallel their two-step nature of replication in vivo. We propose that the early and transient RT-based horizontal replication helps the virus escape the first wave of host immune response whereas somatic-dependent genetic variability during persistent clonal expansion helps infected clones escape the persistent and intense immune pressure that characterizes the chronic phase of deltaretrovirus infection. [less ▲]

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See detailDownregulation of CD94/NKG2A inhibitory receptors on CD8+ T cells in HIV infection is more pronounced in subjects with detected viral load than in their aviraemic counterparts.
Zeddou, Mustapha ULg; Rahmouni, Souad ULg; Vandamme, Arnaud ULg et al

in Retrovirology (2007), 4

The CD94/NKG2A heterodimer is a natural killer receptor (NKR), which inhibits cell-mediated cytotoxicity upon interaction with MHC class I gene products. It is expressed by NK cells and by a small ... [more ▼]

The CD94/NKG2A heterodimer is a natural killer receptor (NKR), which inhibits cell-mediated cytotoxicity upon interaction with MHC class I gene products. It is expressed by NK cells and by a small fraction of activated CD8+ T lymphocytes. Abnormal upregulation of the CD94/NKG2A inhibitory NKR on cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) could be responsible for a failure of immunosurveillance in cancer or HIV infection. In this study, CD94/NKG2A receptor expression on CD8+ T lymphocytes and NK cells was assessed in 46 HIV-1-infected patients (24 viraemic, 22 aviraemic) and 10 healthy volunteers. The percentage of CD8+ T lymphocytes expressing the CD94/NKG2A inhibitory heterodimer was very significantly decreased in HIV-1-infected patients in comparison with non-infected controls. Within the HIV infected patients, the proportion of CD8+ T lymphocytes and NK cells expressing CD94/NKG2A was higher in subjects with undetectable viral loads in comparison with their viraemic counterparts. No significant difference was detected in the proportion of CD8+ T lymphocytes expressing the activatory CD94/NKG2C heterodimer between the HIV-1 infected patients and the healthy donors, nor between the vireamic and avireamic HIV-1 infected patients. In conclusion, chronic stimulation with HIV antigens in viraemic patients leads to a decreased rather than increased CD94/NKG2A expression on CD8+ T lymphocytes and NK cells. [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 detailReduced proviral loads during primo-infection of sheep by Bovine Leukemia virus attenuated mutants.
Debacq, Christophe; Sanchez Alcaraz, Maria Teresa; Mortreux, Franck et al

in Retrovirology (2004), 1(1),

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