Activation of the GM-CSF promoter by HTLV-I and -II tax proteins

S. D. Nimer, J. C. Gasson, K. Hu, I. Smalberg, J. L. Williams, I. S.Y. Chen, J. D. Rosenblatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Production of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) by normal T lymphocytes requires activation by antigen, mitogen or lectin, whereas T-cell lines transformed by human T-cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-I) or type II (HTLV-II) constitutively produce high levels of GM-CSF. Using transient co-transfection assays, we demonstrate that introduction of the tax gene of either HTLV-I or HTLV-II is sufficient to activate GM-CSF promoter constructs in an unstimulated T-cell line. The GM-CSF 5' flanking sequences previously shown to be sufficient for GM-CSF induction following T-cell activation are also sufficient for activation by the HTLV tax proteins. The sequences required for trans-activation of GM-CSF are distinct from those required for the activation of other T-cell-inducible genes (IL-2Rα, IL-2) by tax, suggesting that tax can have pleiotropic effects on gene expression in T cells. Constitutive GM-CSF production by HTLV-infected T cells may therefore be due to trans-activation of its promoter by tax. Expression of GM-CSF by HTLV-I infected lymphocytes may be important in the granulocytosis and eosinophilia frequently seen in patients with HTLV-I-induced adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-676
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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