Cell-Type-Specific Trans-Activation of Herpes Simplex Virus Thymidine Kinase Promoter by the Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type I Tax Protein

Kubota, Satoshi; Mukudai, Yoshiki; Hattori, Takako; Eguchi, Takanori; Kondo, Seiji; Takigawa, Masaharu
September 2001
DNA & Cell Biology;Sep2001, Vol. 20 Issue 9, p563
Academic Journal
The human T-cell leukemia virus type I Tax protein (HTLV-I Tax) is known as a trans-activating factor for a variety of genes, including those of cytokines. Here, we show that Tax is capable of activating the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-TK) promoter in certain mammalian cell lines. In murine NIH 3T3 fibroblasts and human HeLa cells, trans-activation by Tax was remarkably strong, whereas in human chondrocytic HCS-2/8 and monkey kidney Cos-7 cells, the responsiveness of the TK promoter to Tax was poor. Deletion analysis revealed that one of the two previously described Sp1 sites is required for the Tax responsiveness, whereas the CTF binding site is not. The results suggest possible interactions between the oncogenic Tax protein and the viral TK in coinfected cells in vivo. Care should be taken in the context of HTLV-I research, as the HSV-TK promoter has been widely used in molecular biology and gene therapeutics.


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