Human T cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-I) is the etiological agent for adult T cell leukemia (ATL). The HTLV-I trans-activator protein Tax can activate the expression of its own long terminal repeat (LTR) and many cellular and viral genes. Tax down-regulated the expression of human β-polymerase (huβ-pol), a cellular enzyme involved in host cell DNA repair. This finding suggests a possible correlation between HTLV-I infection and host chromosomal damage, which is often seen in ATL cells.
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