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Oncogene. 1992 Sep;7(9):1737-42.

Transcriptional activator Tax of HTLV-1 binds to the NF-kappa B precursor p105.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Tokyo, Japan.


Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) induces adult T-cell leukemia and also a neurological disease, tropical spastic paraparesis. Tax protein (p40tax) of HTLV-1 activates in trans its own transcriptional enhancer in the long terminal repeat and also those in some cellular genes such as interleukin 2 receptor alpha, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, Fos, Jun and MHC class I. Thus, Tax has been proposed to play a critical role in the pathogenesis induced by HTLV-1 infection. Here, we report formation of a complex of Tax protein with the precursor protein p105 of the NF-kappa B p50 subunit. p105 was co-immunoprecipitated with Tax protein from cells infected with HTLV-1 from cells transfected with the Tax expression plasmid, but not from cells transfected with inactive mutants of Tax. Furthermore, a GST-p105 fusion protein produced in Escherichia coli bound to Tax protein. These results strongly suggest that the trans-activator Tax protein forms a complex with precursor NF-kappa B p105 and plays a role in trans-activation of transcriptional initiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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