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Nature. 1988 Jun 23;333(6175):776-8.

HTLV-1 transactivator induces interleukin-2 receptor expression through an NF-kappa B-like factor.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Michigan Medical Center, Department of Internal Medicine, Ann Arbor 48109.


Like other viruses that infect primate cells, the human T lymphotropic virus-I (HTLV-I) stimulates production of some host cell proteins. In particular, HTLV-I infected T cells synthesize interleukin-2 receptor alpha (IL-2R alpha) chain, which is probably induced through the mediation of the tat-I gene product of the virus. Activated T cells contain a trascription factor called NF-kappa B, which stimulates the expression of human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) by binding to an 11-base-pair enhancer sequence called kappa B. We have now found evidence that a similar transcription factor is involved in the induction of IL-2R alpha expression by tat-I. We have identified a sequence upstream of IL-2R alpha which is the same as the kappa B site at 9 of 11 base pairs, competes for binding to the kappa B sequence, and serves as a tat-I responsive element when multiple copies are inserted upstream of a heterologous promoter. The tat-I product also induces kappa B and the IL-2R alpha kappa B binding activity in transfected Jurkat T lymphoid leukaemia cells. Both HTLV-I and HIV-1 thus interact with NF-kappa B-like transcription factors which might normally regulate expression of a growth factor receptor gene.

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