IMR Press / FBL / Volume 10 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.2741/1558

Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

The HTLV-I Tax oncoprotein: hyper-tasking at the molecular level
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1 Dept. Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2005, 10(1), 620–642;
Published: 1 January 2005

HTLV-I is a complex retrovirus that encodes a transcriptional activator, Tax, which regulates expression of the viral promoter. Tax has been shown to be both necessary and sufficient to effect immortalization and transformation of cells in culture and tumorigenesis in animal models. Tax exerts its influence through protein-protein interactions with a variety of molecular targets, including transcription factors and cofactors, histone modifying enzymes and post-translational modifying enzymes. Through these interactions, Tax disrupts cellular regulatory cascades and checkpoints designed to control a variety of systems. The result is untimely activation or repression of gene expression, inappropriate protein modifications, incorrect cell cycling, loss of adequate DNA repair capacity, and potential release of the cell from tumor suppression. Whereas for the virus these functions of Tax provide a means for successful completion of its life cycle, for the cell, they result at best in anarchy, and at worst in death of both the cell and the organism of which that cell is a part.

Cellular transformation
DNA repair
Cell cycle
T cells
Viral oncogene
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