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This article is part of the supplement: 2005 International Meeting of The Institute of Human Virology

Open Access Open Badges Poster presentation

Secretion of the Human T Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 Transactivator Protein Tax

Christina Lee1*, Pooja Jain1, Tim Alefantis2, Kate Mostoller2 and Brian Wigdahl1

  • * Corresponding author: Christina Lee

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA

2 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA, USA

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Retrovirology 2005, 2(Suppl 1):P55  doi:10.1186/1742-4690-2-S1-P55

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:8 December 2005


Poster presentation

The HTLV-1 Tax protein is well known as a transcriptional transactivator and inducer of cellular transformation. However, it is also known that extracellular Tax induces the production and release of cytokines, such as TNF-a and IL-6, which have adverse effects on cells of the central nervous system. The cellular process by which Tax exits the cell into the extracellular environmment is currently unknown. This study characterizes the process of Tax secretion from the cell. Specifically, cytoplasmic Tax was demonstrated to localize to organelles associated with the cellular secretory process including the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi complex. Additionally, it was demonstrated that full-length Tax was secreted from both baby hamster kidney cells and a human kidney tumor cell line. Tax secretion was partially inhibited by brefeldin A, suggesting that Tax migrated from ER to Golgi complex. The combined treatment of Tax-transfected cells with PMA and ionomycin resulted in a small increase in the amount of Tax secreted suggesting that a fraction of cytoplasmic Tax was present in the regulated secretory pathway. These studies provide a link between Tax accumulation in the cytoplasm, the detection of Tax in the extracellular environment.