New Study Published on J Virol Reveals The Molecular Mechanism of Human T Cell Leukemia Virus Infection and Spread

Recently, research published in the Journal of Virology, scientists from the University of Minnesota developed a new strategy that is expected to block the spread of a highly infectious virus in remote areas of central Australia. Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infected more than 40% adults in the community, as the first human-type cancer virus discovered by scientists, HTLV-1 induces leukemia and lymphoma.



“Currently, we have clarified how HTLV-1 produces viral particles to spread to other cells in the body.” said researcher Dr. Louis Mansky, “In this study, we made mutations in the major structural protein Gag of the HTLV-1 virus and elucidated how these mutations affect the production of HTLV-1 particles. The spread of HTLV-1 virus between cells requires the production of viral particles, which is essential for the establishment of infections in the body.”


Moreover, the researchers found that the key regions of the Gag protein in HTLV-1 contain key amino acid residues that are important for the production of viral particles. Mansky claimed that the structure of the Gag protein is important for the manufacture of novel viral particles via making these mutations. HTLV-1 can be transmitted in a variety of ways, such as sexual contact, blood transfusion or breastfeeding. As a carcinogenic factor, HTLV-1 can cause other serious health problems in the body and induce chronic diseases of the spinal cord.


In this study, the researchers found that the key viral proteins used to produce HTLV-1 virions can be assembled in a different way instead of HIV-related viruses. At present, researchers only have little understanding of HTLV-1, and the results of this study may help better understand the molecular mechanism by which HTLV-1 infects the body and begins to spread. Furthermore, researchers will conduct more in-depth studies to understand the molecular properties of HTLV-1 virus particles, and they expect to develop new therapies that effectively inhibit the spread of HTLV-1 virus.




Jessica L. Martin, Luiza M. Mendonça, Rachel Marusinec, et al. Critical Role of the HTLV-1 Capsid N-Terminal Domain for Gag-Gag Interactions and Virus Particle Assembly, Journal of Virology (2018). DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00333-18

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