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Mol Cell Biol. Jan 1990; 10(1): 413–417.
PMCID: PMC360770

The human T-lymphotropic virus type I tax gene can cooperate with the ras oncogene to induce neoplastic transformation of cells.

Abstract

Epidemiologic studies have linked infection by the human T-lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) with the development of adult T-cell leukemia. The low penetrance of the virus and the long latency for disease manifestation are factors that obscure the role of HTLV-I infection in oncogenesis. We have used an in vitro transformation assay system to determine directly whether the HTLV-I tax gene has transformation potential. Transfection of the tax gene alone into early-passage rat embryo fibroblasts did not induce morphological alterations. However, cotransfection of tax with the selectable marker plasmid pRSVneo gave rise to G418-resistant colonies that could be established as immortalized cell lines. Cotransfection of tax with the ras oncogene into rat embryo fibroblasts gave rise to foci of transformed cells that were highly tumorigenic in nude mice. These data represent a direct demonstration of the oncogenic potential of the tax gene in nonlymphoid cells and establish HTLV-I as a transforming virus.

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Selected References

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