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This article is part of the supplement: 15th International Conference on Human Retroviruses: HTLV and Related Viruses

Open Access Open Badges Meeting abstract

Expression of the HBZ and tax genes of HTLV-1in infective dermatitis associated with HTLV-I (IDH)

Everton S Batista1, Isabela Archanjo1, Kiyoshi Fukutani2, Maria deFatima P de Oliveira3, Achilea C Bittencourt4 and Lourdes Farre1*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Experimental Pathology, CPQGM, FIOCRUZ, Salvador, Bahia, 40296710, Brazil

2 Laboratory of Immunoparasitology, CPQGM, FIOCRUZ, Salvador, Bahia, 40296710, Brazil

3 Department of Internal Medicine, HUPES, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Bahia, 40296710, Brazil

4 Department of Pathology, HUPES, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Bahia, 40296710, Brazil

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Retrovirology 2011, 8(Suppl 1):A252  doi:10.1186/1742-4690-8-S1-A252

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

Published:6 June 2011

© 2011 Batista et al; licensee 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.


Recent studies have shown that basic leucine zipper factor (HBZ) gene was transcribed in all adult HTLV-1 infected individuals examined, including ATL and HAM/TSP patients, whereas tax mRNA was only transcribed in a half of these groups. The amount of HBZ mRNA expression per provirus was higher than tax mRNA expression in HAM/TSP and adult asymptomatic carriers. Nevertheless, there are no data on HBZ and tax mRNA expression in child and adolescent carriers. The aim of this study was to quantify the HBZ and tax mRNA expression levels in infective dermatitis associated with HTLV-1 (IDH).

Materials and methods

RNA was extracted from PBMC of 31 patients with IDH and 8 adolescent asymptomatic carriers. The mRNA expression levels were quantified by real-time quantitative PCR. For HBZ gene, spliced (HBZ-SI) and non-spliced (HBZ) transcripts were analyzed.


The HBZ mRNA expression levels were higher than the tax mRNA expression levels in patients with IDH and in the asymptomatic carriers, for both HBZ-SI (p<0.0001 and p=0.006, respectively) and HBZ (p=0.0019 and p=0.005) transcripts. The HBZ-SI mRNA load was greater than the expression of the HBZ transcript (p=0.0005) only in IDH patients. HBZ-SI and HBZ mRNA load positively correlated with tax mRNA load (p=0.0014, r=0.548 and p=0.0001, r=0.640; respectively) in IDH patients but not in asymptomatic carriers. There was no correlation between the expression of these genes and proviral load in the two groups evaluated.


These findings suggest that expression of HBZ gene plays a role in early stages of HTLV-1 infection.