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Int J Hematol. 2011 Nov;94(5):435-42. doi: 10.1007/s12185-011-0937-1. Epub 2011 Sep 28.

Molecular mechanisms of HTLV-1 infection and pathogenesis.

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Laboratory of Virus Control, Institute for Virus Research, Kyoto University, 53 Shogoin Kawahara-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan.


Human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is an etiological pathogen of several human diseases, including adult T-cell leukemia (ATL), HTLV-1-associated myelopathy (HAM)/tropical spastic paraparesis (TSP), and inflammatory disorders such as uveitis and dermatitis. HTLV-1 spreads mainly through cell-to-cell transmission, induces clonal proliferation of infected T cells in vivo, and after a long latent period, a subset of HTLV-1 carriers develop ATL. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of infection and oncogenesis is important for the development of new strategies of prophylaxis and molecular-targeted therapies, since ATL has a poor prognosis, despite intensive chemotherapy. In this review, we will summarize recent progress in HTLV-1 research, and especially novel findings on viral transmission and leukemogenic mechanisms by two viral oncogenes, HBZ and tax.

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