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Neoplasia. 2009 Oct;11(10):1036-41.

Human T-cell leukemia virus type I-mediated repression of PDZ-LIM domain-containing protein 2 involves DNA methylation but independent of the viral oncoprotein tax.

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University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Human T-cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-I) is the etiological agent of adult T-cell leukemia (ATL). Our recent studies have shown that one important mechanism of HTLV-I-Mediated tumorigenesis is through PDZ-LIM domain-containing protein 2 (PDLIM2) repression, although the involved mechanism remains unknown. Here, we further report that HTLV-I-Mediated PDLIM2 repression was a pathophysiological event and the PDLIM2 repression involved DNA methylation. Whereas DNA methyltransferases 1 and 3b but not 3a were upregulated in HTLV-I-transformed T cells, the hypomethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-aza-dC) restored PDLIM2 expression and induced death of these malignant cells. Notably, the PDLIM2 repression was independent of the viral regulatory protein Tax because neither short-term induction nor long-term stable expression of Tax could downregulate PDLIM2 expression. These studies provide important insights into PDLIM2 regulation, HTLV-I leukemogenicity, long latency, and cancer health disparities. Given the efficient antitumor activity with no obvious toxicity of 5-aza-dC, these studies also suggest potential therapeutic strategies for ATL.

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