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Molecular Mechanisms of HTLV-1 Cell-to-Cell Transmission

Institute of Clinical and Molecular Virology, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), 91054 Erlangen, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Louis M. Mansky
Viruses 2016, 8(3), 74;
Received: 18 December 2015 / Revised: 20 February 2016 / Accepted: 4 March 2016 / Published: 9 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in HTLV Research 2015)
The tumorvirus human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), a member of the delta-retrovirus family, is transmitted via cell-containing body fluids such as blood products, semen, and breast milk. In vivo, HTLV-1 preferentially infects CD4+ T-cells, and to a lesser extent, CD8+ T-cells, dendritic cells, and monocytes. Efficient infection of CD4+ T-cells requires cell-cell contacts while cell-free virus transmission is inefficient. Two types of cell-cell contacts have been described to be critical for HTLV-1 transmission, tight junctions and cellular conduits. Further, two non-exclusive mechanisms of virus transmission at cell-cell contacts have been proposed: (1) polarized budding of HTLV-1 into synaptic clefts; and (2) cell surface transfer of viral biofilms at virological synapses. In contrast to CD4+ T-cells, dendritic cells can be infected cell-free and, to a greater extent, via viral biofilms in vitro. Cell-to-cell transmission of HTLV-1 requires a coordinated action of steps in the virus infectious cycle with events in the cell-cell adhesion process; therefore, virus propagation from cell-to-cell depends on specific interactions between cellular and viral proteins. Here, we review the molecular mechanisms of HTLV-1 transmission with a focus on the HTLV-1-encoded proteins Tax and p8, their impact on host cell factors mediating cell-cell contacts, cytoskeletal remodeling, and thus, virus propagation. View Full-Text
Keywords: HTLV-1; Tax; p8; virus transmission; cell-to-cell transmission; cell-cell contacts; virological synapse; viral biofilm; cellular conduit HTLV-1; Tax; p8; virus transmission; cell-to-cell transmission; cell-cell contacts; virological synapse; viral biofilm; cellular conduit
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Gross, C.; Thoma-Kress, A.K. Molecular Mechanisms of HTLV-1 Cell-to-Cell Transmission. Viruses 2016, 8, 74.

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