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

Downregulation of p56(lck) tyrosine kinase activity in T cells of squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) correlates with the nontransforming and apathogenic properties of herpesvirus saimiri in its natural host.

Herpesvirus saimiri is capable of transforming T lymphocytes of various primate species to stable growth in culture. The interaction of the T-cellular tyrosine kinase p56(lck) with the transformation-associated viral protein Tip has been shown before to activate the kinase and provides one model for the T-cell-specific transformation by herpesvirus saimiri subgroup C strains. In contrast to other primate species, squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) are naturally infected with the virus without signs of lymphoma or other disease. Although the endogenous virus was regularly recovered from peripheral blood cells from squirrel monkeys, we observed that the T cells lost the virus genomes in culture. Superinfection with virus strain C488 did not induce growth transformation, in contrast to parallel experiments with T cells of other primate species. Surprisingly, p56(lck) was enzymatically inactive in primary T-cell lines derived from different squirrel monkeys, although the T cells reacted appropriately to stimulatory signals. The cDNA sequence revealed minor point mutations only, and transfections in COS-7 cells demonstrated that the S. sciureus lck gene codes for a functional enzyme. In S. sciureus, the tyrosine kinase p56(lck) was not activated after T-cell stimulation and enzymatic activity could not be induced by Tip of herpesvirus saimiri C488. However, the suppression of p56(lck) was partially released after administration of the phosphatase inhibitor pervanadate. This argues for unique species-specific conditions in T cells of S. sciureus which may interfere with the transforming activity and pathogenicity of herpesvirus saimiri subgroup C strains in their natural host.[1]


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