Volume 11 Supplement 1

16th International Conference on Human Retroviruses: HTLV and Related Viruses

Open Access

IFN-α suppresses HTLV-1 expression via PKR in infected cells and renders them susceptible to AZT through p53 activation in AZT/IFN-α treatment

  • Shuichi Kinpara1,
  • Mami Kijiyama1,
  • Ayako Takamori1,
  • Atsuhiko Hasegawa1,
  • Amane Sasada1,
  • Takao Masuda1,
  • Yuetsu Tanaka2,
  • Atae Utsunomiya3 and
  • Mari Kannagi1
Retrovirology201411(Suppl 1):O24

https://doi.org/10.1186/1742-4690-11-S1-O24

Published: 7 January 2014

HTLV-1 expression is maintained at low levels in vivo through unknown mechanisms. Interferon-α (IFN-α) has been used in combination with zidovudin (AZT) to treat adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) patients with favorable effects, although the mechanism is also unclear. We previously reported that HTLV-1 gene expression could be markedly suppressed by stromal cells through a type-I IFN response in IL-2-dependent HTLV-1-infected T-cells (ILTs) derived from ATL patients. Here, we found that treatment with IFN-α alone produced suppressive effects on HTLV-1 gene expression in ILTs and also on the spontaneous HTLV-1 induction in short-term cultured primary ATL cells. Following IFN-α treatment, the levels of intracellular Tax protein decreased earlier than those of HTLV-1 mRNA in ILTs. An RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) inhibitor reversed IFN-α-mediated suppression of Tax in ILTs, suggesting the involvement of a post-transcriptional mechanism mediated by PKR in the suppression. IFN-α also induced cell cycle arrest at the G0/G1 phase in ILTs. We further found that AZT combined with IFN-α induced cell apoptosis in ILTs, associated with phosphorylation of p53 and enhanced expression of genes responsive to p53, whereas AZT alone did not affect cell viability or viral expression. Our results suggest that ILTs and ATL cells retain susceptibility to type-I IFNs, which suppress HTLV-1 gene expression primarily at a post-transcriptional level and potentially allow for signaling through the p53 pathway in combination with AZT. These findings would partly explain how HTLV-1 gene expression is regulated in vivo, and how AZT/IFN-α produces therapeutic effects in ATL.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Department of Immunotherapeutics, Graduate School, Tokyo Medical and Dental University
(2)
Department of Immunology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of the Ryukyus
(3)
Department of Hematology, Imamura Bun-in Hospital

Copyright

© Kinpara et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Advertisement