Open Access
The immune control of HTLV-1 infection: selection forces and dynamics
Charles R M Bangham1,Kiran Meekings1,Frederic Toulza1,Mohamed Nejmeddine1,Endre Majorovits1,Becca Asquith1,Graham P Taylor1
Department of Immunology, Imperial College, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK.
DOI: 10.2741/3420 Volume 14 Issue 8, pp.2889-2903
Published: 01 January 2009

Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) play a central role in the protective immune response to human T-lymphotropic virus 1 (HTLV-1). Here we consider two questions. First, what determines the strength of an individual's HTLV-1-specific CTL response? Second, what controls the rate of expression of HTLV-1 in vivo, which is greater in patients with HAM/TSP than in asymptomatic carriers with the same proviral load? Recent evidence shows that FoxP3+CD4+ T cells are abnormally frequent in HTLV-1 infection, and the frequency of these cells is inversely correlated with the rate of CTL lysis of HTLV-1-infected cells, suggesting that FoxP3+CD4+ cell frequency is an important determinant of the outcome of HTLV-1 infection. There is also new evidence that the rate of expression of HTLV-1 in vivo is associated with the transcriptional activity of the flanking host genome. We suggest that the frequencies of HTLV-1-infected T cell clones in vivo are determined by a dynamic balance between positive and negative selection forces that differ among the clones.

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Charles R M Bangham, Kiran Meekings, Frederic Toulza, Mohamed Nejmeddine, Endre Majorovits, Becca Asquith, Graham P Taylor. The immune control of HTLV-1 infection: selection forces and dynamics. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2009. 14(8); 2889-2903.