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Host-pathogen interactome mapping for HTLV-1 and -2 retroviruses

Nicolas Simonis123, Jean-François Rual12, Irma Lemmens5, Mathieu Boxus4, Tomoko Hirozane-Kishikawa12, Jean-Stéphane Gatot6, Amélie Dricot12, Tong Hao12, Didier Vertommen7, Sébastien Legros4, Sarah Daakour4, Niels Klitgord12, Maud Martin4, Jean-François Willaert4, Franck Dequiedt4, Vincent Navratil8, Michael E Cusick12, Arsène Burny4, Carine Van Lint6, David E Hill12, Jan Tavernier5, Richard Kettmann4, Marc Vidal12* and Jean-Claude Twizere14*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Cancer Systems Biology (CCSB) and Department of Cancer Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA 02215, USA

2 Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, MA 02115, USA

3 Laboratoire de Bioinformatique des Génomes et des Réseaux (BiGRe), Université Libre de Bruxelles, Campus Plaine, CP 263, Boulevard du Triomphe, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium

4 Protein Signaling and Interactions - GIGA Research Center and Department of Chemistry - Gembloux ABT, University of Liège, 1 avenue de l'Hôpital, 4000 Liege, Belgium

5 Department of Medical Protein Research, VIB, Ghent University, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium

6 Laboratory of Molecular Virology, Institut de Biologie et de Médecine Moléculaires, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 12 Rue des Profs Jeener et Brachet, 6041 Gosselies, Belgium

7 Hormones and Metabolism Unit, Université catholique de Louvain and de Duve Institute, 75 Avenue Hippocrate, 1200 Brussels, Belgium

8 Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Lyon, Université de Lyon, INRA, UMR754, and INSERM, U851, 21 avenue Tony Garnier, Lyon F-69007, France

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Retrovirology 2012, 9:26  doi:10.1186/1742-4690-9-26

Published: 29 March 2012



Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and type 2 both target T lymphocytes, yet induce radically different phenotypic outcomes. HTLV-1 is a causative agent of Adult T-cell leukemia (ATL), whereas HTLV-2, highly similar to HTLV-1, causes no known overt disease. HTLV gene products are engaged in a dynamic struggle of activating and antagonistic interactions with host cells. Investigations focused on one or a few genes have identified several human factors interacting with HTLV viral proteins. Most of the available interaction data concern the highly investigated HTLV-1 Tax protein. Identifying shared and distinct host-pathogen protein interaction profiles for these two viruses would enlighten how they exploit distinctive or common strategies to subvert cellular pathways toward disease progression.


We employ a scalable methodology for the systematic mapping and comparison of pathogen-host protein interactions that includes stringent yeast two-hybrid screening and systematic retest, as well as two independent validations through an additional protein interaction detection method and a functional transactivation assay. The final data set contained 166 interactions between 10 viral proteins and 122 human proteins. Among the 166 interactions identified, 87 and 79 involved HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 -encoded proteins, respectively. Targets for HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 proteins implicate a diverse set of cellular processes including the ubiquitin-proteasome system, the apoptosis, different cancer pathways and the Notch signaling pathway.


This study constitutes a first pass, with homogeneous data, at comparative analysis of host targets for HTLV-1 and -2 retroviruses, complements currently existing data for formulation of systems biology models of retroviral induced diseases and presents new insights on biological pathways involved in retroviral infection.

HTLV; Interactome; Retrovirus; ORFeome; Tax; HBZ