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HTLV-I Tax induces DNA Breaks and Inhibits HR Repair through Activation of NF-kB

Christophe P Nicot

1 Collaborator(s)

Funding source

National Cancer Institute (NIH)
Human T-cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-I) infects more than 25 million people world-wide. A significant percentage of infected individuals develop adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) or HTLV-I-associated myelopathy (HAM/TSP). HTLV-I-associated diseases are invariably fatal with limited therapeutic options and a life expectancy of 4-6 months for acute ATL and 10 months for the lymphoma type. Projected 4-year survival rates for acute- and lymphoma-type ATL stand at 5 and 5.7%, respectively. HTLV-I is the only known transforming human retrovirus; yet the mechanisms by which the virus transforms human T-cells are still poorly understood. The genomic instability caused by the oncoprotein Tax is thought to play an important role in ATL development. Tax has been shown to constitutively activate NF-kB and stimulate cell proliferation. In addition, Tax prematurely activates the anaphase promoting complex, inhibits nucleotide excision repair and represses topoisomerase I and beta-polymerase. This project will elucidate the mechanisms employed by Tax to increase genetic instability in pre-tumoral cells and the cellular genes involved in the adaptation/tolerance of DNA damage and transformation.

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