Human T-cell leukemia virus types I (HTLV-I) and II (HTLV-II) are human retroviruses which normally infect T-lymphoid cells. HTLV-I infection is associated with adult T-cell leukemia-lymphoma, and HTLV-II is associated with an indolent form of hairy-cell leukemia. To identify potential transcriptional regulatory elements of these two related human retroviruses, we performed DNase I footprinting of both the HTLV-I and HTLV-II long terminal repeats (LTRs) by using extracts prepared from uninfected T cells, HTLV-I and HTLV-II transformed T cells, and HeLa cells. Five regions of the HTLV-I LTR and three regions of the HTLV-II LTR showed protection by DNase I footprinting. All three of the 21-base-pair repeats previously shown to be important in HTLV transcriptional regulation were protected in the HTLV-I LTR, whereas only one of these repeats was protected in the HTLV-II LTR. Several regions exhibited altered protection in extracts prepared from lymphoid cells as compared with HeLa cells, but there were minimal differences in the protection patterns between HTLV-infected and uninfected lymphoid extracts. A number of HTLV-I and HTLV-II LTR fragments which contained regions showing protection in DNase I footprinting were able to function as inducible enhancer elements in transient CAT gene expression assays in the presence of the HTLV-II tat protein. The alterations in the pattern of the cellular proteins which bind to thew HTLV-I and HTLV-II LTRs may in part be responsible for differences in the transcriptional regulation of these two related viruses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science