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Virology. 1995 Jun 1;209(2):445-56.

Expression and characterization of proteins produced by mRNAs spliced into the X region of the human T-cell leukemia/lymphotropic virus type II.

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Institute of Oncology, University of Padova, Italy.


In previous studies we showed that human T-cell leukemia/lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) may produce novel proteins encoded in the X region. To investigate a possible correlation between expression of viral genes and different biologic properties of HTLV-I and HTLV-II, we analyzed expression of HTLV-II in the chronically infected cell line MoT. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analyses revealed that the virus produces several mRNAs singly or doubly spliced into the X region. Corresponding cDNAs were cloned and transfected into a HeLa cell line; resulting proteins were designated according to their sizes and coding open reading frames (ORFs). p10xI and p11xV were produced by a dicistronic doubly spliced mRNA. p10xI was generated by translation of the first exon of rex linked to the x-I ORF; p11xV was translated from the tax initiation codon linked to the x-V ORF. Two singly spliced polycistronic mRNAs produced p28xII, coded by the x-II ORF, and several isoforms generated by initiation within the x-III ORF. Studies of the proteins' subcellular localization revealed that they exhibited distinct targeting patterns. Comparison of these proteins with their HTLV-I counterparts indicated intriguing differences between these two viruses, suggesting that further study of the X region products may aid in defining genetic determinants of pathogenicity.

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