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Retrovirology. 2013 Jul 23;10:75. doi: 10.1186/1742-4690-10-75.

Acetylation at lysine 346 controls the transforming activity of the HTLV-1 Tax oncoprotein in the Rat-1 fibroblast model.

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  • 1Institute for Microbiological Research J-M Wiame (IRMW), Laboratory of Microbiology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 1, Avenue E, Gryson, Brussels, Belgium.

Abstract

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-κB pathway, a key function associated with Tax transforming potential.

RESULTS:

In this study, we demonstrate that acetylation at lysine K(346) 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-p21(CIP) complexes. This property correlates with the inability of the acetylation deficient K(346)R mutant, but not the acetylation mimetic K(346)Q mutant, to promote anchorage-independent growth of Rat-1 fibroblasts. By contrast, acetylation at lysine K(346) 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.

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