Open Access
Gene activation therapy: from the BLV model to HAM/TSP patients
Agnes Lezin1,Stephane Olindo1,Gildas Belrose1,Aissatou Signate1,Raymond Cesaire1,Didier Smadja1,Derek Macallan1,Becca Asquith1,Charles Bangham1,Amel Bouzar1,Nicolas Gillet1,Julien Defoiche1,Arnaud Florins1,Olivier Verlaeten1,Arsene Burny1,Luc Willems1
Laboratory of Virology-Immunology, Neurology and JE 2503, University Hospital of Fort-de-France, 97200 Fort-de-France, Martinique, France
DOI: 10.2741/S20 Volume 1 Issue 1, pp.205-215
Published: 01 June 2009

HTLV-1 (human T-lymphotropic virus type 1) and BLV (bovine leukemia virus) are two related retroviruses infecting CD4+ and B lymphocytes in humans and ruminants, respectively. During infection, the host-pathogen interplay is characterized by very dynamic kinetics resulting in equilibrium between the virus, which attempts to proliferate, and the immune response, which seeks to exert tight control of the virus. A major determinant of disease induction by both viruses is the accumulation of provirus in peripheral blood. In the absence of viral proteins, virus infected cells escape recognition and destruction by the host immune response. We propose a novel therapeutic strategy based on transient activation of viral expression using epigenetic modulators; this exposes infected cells to the immune response and results in significant reductions in proviral loads. In the absence of satisfactory therapies, this viral gene-activation strategy might delay progression, or even be curative, for HTLV-1 induced myelopathy / tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP).

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Agnes Lezin, Stephane Olindo, Gildas Belrose, Aissatou Signate, Raymond Cesaire, Didier Smadja, Derek Macallan, Becca Asquith, Charles Bangham, Amel Bouzar, Nicolas Gillet, Julien Defoiche, Arnaud Florins, Olivier Verlaeten, Arsene Burny, Luc Willems. Gene activation therapy: from the BLV model to HAM/TSP patients. Frontiers in Bioscience-Scholar. 2009. 1(1); 205-215.