Deletion of the p16INK4A gene in ex vivo acute adult T cell lymphoma/leukemia cells and methylation of the p16INK4A promoter in HTLV type I-infected T cell lines

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2000 May 20;16(8):709-13. doi: 10.1089/088922200308701.


The stoichiometry of the p16INK4A and p15INK4B proteins bound to the cyclin D-CDK4/6 complex regulates the entry of cells into the G1 phase of the cell cycle. Thus, their level of expression is essential in maintaining regulated cell growth. In several tumors, deletion of these genes has been reported and, more recently, promoter methylation has been suggested as an alternative mechanism to decrease the expression of these cell cycle inhibitor proteins. Here, we studied the methylation status and the integrity of the p16INK4A and p15INK4B genes in 8 chronically HTLV-I-infected T cell lines and in ex vivo cells from 14 ATLL patients. Deletion of the locus carrying both genes was not found in the HTLV-I-infected T cell lines but was found in seven of eight acute ATLL cases and in none of the PBMCs from the chronic cases or the affected lymph nodes of the lymphoma type. In contrast, partial or complete methylation of one or both genes was found only in chronically HTLV-I T cells. Thus, HTLV-I infection targets the p16INK4A and p15INK4B loci both in vitro and in vivo, although the mechanisms may differ.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Transformed / physiology
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / genetics*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / metabolism
  • Gene Deletion*
  • Human T-lymphotropic virus 1 / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia-Lymphoma, Adult T-Cell / genetics*
  • Methylation
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • T-Lymphocytes / virology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16