The human T-cell leukemia virus type I or HTLV-I is the causative agent of adult T-cell leukemia. A protein encoded by HTLV-I, Tax, activates viral gene expression and is essential for transforming T-lymphocytes. Tax activates HTLV-I gene expression via interactions with the ATF/CREB proteins and the coactivators CBP/p300 which assemble as a multiprotein complex on regulatory elements known as 21-bp repeats in the HTLV-I LTR. Tax can also activate expression from cellular genes including the interleukin-2 (IL-2) and the IL-2 receptor genes via increases in nuclear levels of NF-kappaB. Tax modulation of gene expression via the ATF/CREB and NF-kappaB pathways is linked to its transforming properties. This review discusses the mechanisms by which Tax regulates viral and cellular gene expression.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.