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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Aug 22;103(34):12861-6. Epub 2006 Aug 14.

Inhibition of human T cell leukemia virus type 2 replication by the suppressive action of class II transactivator and nuclear factor Y.

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Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Insubria, 21100 Varese, Italy.


The master regulator of MHC-II gene transcription, class II transactivator (CIITA), acts as a potent inhibitor of human T cell leukemia virus type 2 (HTLV-2) replication by blocking the activity of the viral Tax-2 transactivator. Here, we show that this inhibitory effect takes place at the nuclear level and maps to the N-terminal 1-321 region of CIITA, where we identified a minimal domain, from positions 64-144, that is strictly required to suppress Tax-2 function. Furthermore, we show that Tax-2 specifically cooperates with cAMP response element binding protein-binding protein (CBP) and p300, but not with p300/CBP-associated factor, to enhance transcription from the viral promoter. This finding represents a unique difference with respect to Tax-1, which uses all three coactivators to transactivate the human T cell leukemia virus type 1 LTR. Direct sequestering of CBP or p300 is not the primary mechanism by which CIITA causes suppression of Tax-2. Interestingly, we found that the transcription factor nuclear factor Y, which interacts with CIITA to increase transcription of MHC-II genes, exerts a negative regulatory action on the Tax-2-mediated HTLV-2 LTR transactivation. Thus, CIITA may inhibit Tax-2 function, at least in part, through nuclear factor Y. These findings demonstrate the dual defensive role of CIITA against pathogens: it increases the antigen-presenting function for viral determinants and suppresses HTLV-2 replication in infected cells.

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