International Journal of Hematology

DOI: 10.1007/s12185-011-0937-1 Pages: 435-442

Molecular mechanisms of HTLV-1 infection and pathogenesis

1. Kyoto University, Laboratory of Virus Control, Institute for Virus Research

Correspondence to:
Junichiro Yasunaga
Tel: +81-75-7513986
Fax: +81-75-7514049
Email: jyasunag@virus.kyoto-u.ac.jp

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Abstract

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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