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Mol Immunol. 2002 Feb;38(10):723-32.

Thioredoxin-mediated redox control of human T cell lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) gene expression.

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Department of Biological Responses, Institute for Virus Research, Kyoto University, 53 Kawahara-cho, Shogoin, Sakyo-ku, 606-8507, Kyoto, Japan.


Thioredoxin (TRX) is a small ubiquitous protein with multiple biological functions, including the thiol-mediated redox-regulation of gene expression. We have previously demonstrated that human TRX is overexpressed as a major protein oxidoreductase in human T cell lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I)-infected cells. In the present study, we investigated the relationship between TRX and viral gene expression in HTLV-I infection. To study the mechanism that causes overexpression of TRX in HTLV-I-infected cells, we first examined the effect of the HTLV-I transactivator, Tax, on TRX expression. Induction of HTLV-I Tax protein increased the expression of TRX protein in a Tax-transfected Jurkat cell line, JPX-9. Moreover, chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) analysis with a reporter gene containing the TRX promoter revealed that Tax activates the transcription of TRX gene. To study the role of overexpressed TRX in HTLV-I infection, we next examined the effect of TRX on HTLV-I long terminal repeat (LTR)-mediated transcription using CAT analysis. In an HTLV-I-infected human T cell line MT-2, the HTLV-I LTR transactivation was suppressed by the overexpression of wild-type TRX, but activated by the introduction of inactive mutant TRX. Moreover, in HTLV-I negative Jurkat T cells, the HTLV-I LTR transactivation induced by Tax was also repressed by overexpression of wild-type TRX. Because cellular redox changes were shown to affect the HTLV-I gene expression, it is likely that TRX modulates the HTLV-I gene expression by regulating cellular redox state. Taken together, these findings suggest that overexpressed TRX, which is induced by HTLV-I Tax, may play an important role in HTLV-I infection through the negative regulation of viral gene expression.

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