Effect of human T-cell leukemia virus type I tax protein on activation of the human vimentin gene
Journal of Virology
We report that the expression of the vimentin gene, a cytoskeletal growth-regulated gene, is activated in trans by the Tax (p4Ox) transactivator protein encoded by the human T-cell leukemia virus type I. Expression of the Tax protein activates a number of cellular genes, such as those coding for the a chain of the high-affinity interleukin-2 receptor and interleukin-2. These findings indicate that the Tax protein is involved in the unregulated T-cell growth associated with human T-cell leukemia
... man T-cell leukemia virus type I infection. Higher levels of vimentin mRNA were expressed in two human T-cell leukemia virus type I-transformed T cell lines, C91/PL and C81-66/45, when compared with that in Jurkat T cells. We demonstrate that this activation is conferred by the vimentin upstream flanking sequences. Indeed, enhanced activity was detected when constructs with the vimentin promoter linked to the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene were transfected in HeLa cells and in two cell lines of hematopoietic origin (Jurkat T lymphoblastoid cells and U937 promonocytic cells) together with a Tax expression plasmid. By introducing a series of deletions in the vimentin promoter, we further restrict these sequences to 30 base pairs, located between 241 and 210 base pairs upstream of the mRNA cap site. A 40-base-pair oligonucleotide containing this regulatory region proved sufficient to confer Tax inducibility upon a heterologous promoter linked to chloramphenicol acetyltransferase. Importantly, this segment includes an 11-base-pair promoter segment that has homology with the binding site for the NF-KB transactivating factor. Our findings indicate that constitutive expression of the vimentin gene under the control of the Tax protein may be relevant in understanding the progression of the lymphoproliferative process associated with human T-cell leukemia virus type I infection.