Skip to content


  • Meeting abstract
  • Open Access

Kinetics and intracellular compartmentalization of HTLV-1 gene expression

  • 1, 2,
  • 1,
  • 3,
  • 1,
  • 4,
  • 3,
  • 5,
  • 6,
  • 4,
  • 1,
  • 4 and
  • 1, 2Email author
Retrovirology20118 (Suppl 1) :A204

  • Published:


  • Leukemia Virus
  • Temporal Sequence
  • Intracellular Compartmentalization
  • Viral Transcript
  • Individual mRNAs

Human T cell leukemia virus Type 1 (HTLV-1) codes for at least 9 alternatively-spliced transcripts and two major regulatory proteins named Tax and Rex that function at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels, respectively. We investigated the temporal sequence of HTLV-1 gene expression in primary cells from infected patients using splice site-specific quantitative RT-PCR. The results indicated a two-phase kinetics with the Tax/Rex mRNA preceding expression of other viral transcripts. Using transfection of HTLV-1 molecular clones and subcellular RNA fractionation we demonstrated the Rex-dependency of the two-phase kinetics and determined the compartmentalization of the individual mRNAs, showing that over 90% of the HBZ mRNAs were retained in the nucleus. Mathematical modelling revealed the importance of a functional delay of Rex function compared to Tax, which was supported by experimental evidence of delayed accumulation and longer half-life of Rex. These data provided the first evidence for a temporal pattern of HTLV-1 expression and revealed major differences in the intracellular compartmentalization of HTLV-1 transcripts.

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Oncology and Surgical Sciences, University of Padova, Padova, I-35128, Italy
Istituto OncologicoVeneto–IRCCS, Padova, Italy
Department of Information Engineering, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
Department of Immunology, Imperial College, London, UK
Department of Immunology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan
Viral Immunology Section, Neuroimmunology Branch, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA


© Rende et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2011

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 (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.