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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Feline leukemia virus long terminal repeat activates collagenase IV gene expression through AP-1.

Leukemia and lymphoma induced by feline leukemia viruses (FeLVs) are the commonest forms of illness in domestic cats. These viruses do not contain oncogenes, and the source of their pathogenic activity is not clearly understood. Mechanisms involving proto-oncogene activation subsequent to proviral integration and/or development of recombinant viruses with enhanced replication properties are thought to play an important role in their disease pathogenesis. In addition, the long terminal repeat (LTR) regions of these viruses have been shown to be important determinants for pathogenicity and tissue specificity, by virtue of their ability to interact with various transcription factors. Previously, we have shown that, in the case of Moloney murine leukemia virus, the U3 region of the LTR independently induces transcriptional activation of specific cellular genes through an LTR-generated RNA transcript (S. Y. Choi and D. V. Faller, J. Biol. Chem. 269:19691-19694, 1994; S.-Y. Choi and D. V. Faller, J. Virol. 69:7054-7060, 1995). In this report, we show that the U3 region of exogenous FeLV LTRs can induce transcription from collagenase IV (matrix metalloproteinase 9) and monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1) promoters up to 12-fold. We also show that AP-1 DNA-binding activity and transcriptional activity are strongly induced in cells expressing FeLV LTRs and that LTR-specific RNA transcripts are generated in those cells. Activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinases 1 and 2 (MEK1 and -2) by the LTR is an intermediate step in the FeLV LTR-mediated induction of AP-1 activity. These findings thus suggest that the LTRs of FeLVs can independently activate transcription of specific cellular genes. This LTR-mediated cellular gene transactivation may play an important role in tumorigenesis or preleukemic states and may be a generalizable activity of leukemia-inducing retroviruses.[1]


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