PRMT5 Is Upregulated in HTLV-1-Mediated T-Cell Transformation and Selective Inhibition Alters Viral Gene Expression and Infected Cell Survival.

Panfil AR, Al-Saleem J, Howard CM, Mates JM, Kwiek JJ, Baiocchi RA, Green PL
Viruses 8 12/30/2015


Human T-cell leukemia virus type-1 (HTLV-1) is a tumorigenic retrovirus responsible for development of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL). This disease manifests after a long clinical latency period of up to 2-3 decades. Two viral gene products, Tax and HBZ, have transforming properties and play a role in the pathogenic process. Genetic and epigenetic cellular changes also occur in HTLV-1-infected cells, which contribute to transformation and disease development. However, the role of cellular factors in transformation is not completely understood. Herein, we examined the role of protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) on HTLV-1-mediated cellular transformation and viral gene expression. We found PRMT5 expression was upregulated during HTLV-1-mediated T-cell transformation, as well as in established lymphocytic leukemia/lymphoma cell lines and ATLL patient PBMCs. shRNA-mediated reduction in PRMT5 protein levels or its inhibition by a small molecule inhibitor (PRMT5i) in HTLV-1-infected lymphocytes resulted in increased viral gene expression and decreased cellular proliferation. PRMT5i also had selective toxicity in HTLV-1-transformed T-cells. Finally, we demonstrated that PRMT5 and the HTLV-1 p30 protein had an additive inhibitory effect on HTLV-1 gene expression. Our study provides evidence for PRMT5 as a host cell factor important in HTLV-1-mediated T-cell transformation, and a potential target for ATLL treatment.

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