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The tax-inducible actin-bundling protein fascin is crucial for release and cell-to-cell transmission of human T-cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 (HTLV-1)

: Gross, C.; Wiesmann, V.; Millen, S.; Kalmer, M.; Wittenberg, T.; Gettemans, J.; Thoma-Kress, A.K.

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PLoS pathogens 12 (2016), No.10, Art. e1005916, 32 pp.
ISSN: 1553-7374
ISSN: 1553-7366
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IIS ()

The delta-retrovirus Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) preferentially infects CD4+ T-cells via cell-to-cell transmission. Viruses are transmitted by polarized budding and by transfer of viral biofilms at the virological synapse (VS). Formation of the VS requires the viral Tax protein and polarization of the host cytoskeleton, however, molecular mechanisms of HTLV-1 cell-to-cell transmission remain incompletely understood. Recently, we could show Tax-dependent upregulation of the actin-bundling protein Fascin (FSCN-1) in HTLV-1-infected T-cells. Here, we report that Fascin contributes to HTLV-1 transmission. Using single-cycle replication-dependent HTLV-1 reporter vectors, we found that repression of endogenous Fascin by short hairpin RNAs and by Fascin-specific nanobodies impaired gag p19 release and cell-to-cell transmission in 293T cells. In Jurkat T-cells, Tax-induced Fascin expression enhanced virus release and Fascin-dependently augmented cell-to-cell tra nsmission to Raji/CD4+ B-cells. Repression of Fascin in HTLV-1-infected T-cells diminished virus release and gag p19 transfer to co-cultured T-cells. Spotting the mechanism, flow cytometry and automatic image analysis showed that Tax-induced T-cell conjugate formation occurred Fascin-independently. However, adhesion of HTLV-1-infected MT-2 cells in co-culture with Jurkat T-cells was reduced upon knockdown of Fascin, suggesting that Fascin contributes to dissemination of infected T-cells. Imaging of chronically infected MS-9 T-cells in co-culture with Jurkat T-cells revealed that Fascinâs localization at tight cell-cell contacts is accompanied by gag polarization suggesting that Fascin directly affects the distribution of gag to budding sites, and therefore, indirectly viral transmission. In detail, we found gag clusters that are interspersed with Fascin clusters, suggesting that Fascin makes room for gag in viral biofilms. Moreover, we observed short, Fascin-containing membrane extensions surroundin