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Insights on the pathogenicity of human T-lymphotropic/leukemia virus types I and II.

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Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-4255, USA.


Human T-lymphotropic/leukemia virus types I and II (HTLV-I and HTLV-II) are phylogenetically and immunologically related viruses that differ in their pathogenicity in vivo. HTLV-I is the etiologic agent of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma, as well as a chronic progressive myelopathy, HTLV-I-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis. In contrast, HTLV-II has not been conclusively associated with specific diseases. Both HTLV-I and HTLV-II transform CD4+ T-cells in vitro, but their in vivo target cells appear to differ. HTLV-I is found mainly in CD4+ cells, whereas HTLV-II has been demonstrated mainly in CD8+ cells. Clearly the definition of the viral genetic determinants responsible for the different tropism and pathogenicity in vivo may provide the basis of our understanding of the HTLV-I oncogenicity. In this short review we emphasize two aspects of viral infection of T cells: (1) the influence of viral infection on the major proteins involved in the G0-G1 phase of the cell cycle and (2) the effect of viral infection on the S phase of the cell cycle, i.e., the interleukin-2 receptor pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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