Human T-cell lymphotropic viruses (HTLV) types I and II are closely related oncogenic retroviruses that have been associated with lymphoproliferative and neurological disorders. The proviral genome encodes a trans-regulatory Tax protein that activates viral genes and upregulates various cellular genes involved in both cell growth and transformation. Tax proteins of HTLV-I (Tax-I) and HTLV-II (Tax-II) exhibit more than 77% aa homology and expression of either Tax-I or Tax-II is sufficient for immortalization of cultured T lymphocytes. Tax-I shuttles from the nucleus to the cytoplasm and accumulates within the nucleus, whereas Tax-II is found mainly in the cytoplasm. In the present study we have used recombinant vectors to analyze the size and structure of the nuclear localization domain within the Tax-II protein sequence. The Tax-II protein was expressed in HeLa cells either as the complete protein, or regions thereof, that were individually fused to the green fluorescent protein (GFP). Immunoblot analysis of the fused Tax-II products confirmed their expression and size. Fluorescence microscopy studies indicated that the complete Tax-II as well as N-truncated forms presented a punctuate cytoplasmic distribution and that a nuclear localization determinant is confined to within the first 60 aa of Tax-II. Accordingly, site directed mutagenesis and deletion of specific sequences within the first 60 aa showed that the nuclear determinant lies within the first 41 residues of Tax-II. These results point to a direct involvement of the amino-terminal residues of Tax-II protein in determining its nuclear functionality.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.