Table of Contents
Leukemia Research and Treatment
Volume 2012, Article ID 876153, 14 pages
Review Article

Comparison of the Genetic Organization, Expression Strategies and Oncogenic Potential of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2

1Department of Oncology and Surgical Sciences, The University of Padova, 35128 Padova, Italy
2Department of Life and Reproduction Sciences, University of Verona, 37134 Verona, Italy

Received 9 September 2011; Accepted 24 September 2011

Academic Editor: Mineki Saito

Copyright © 2012 Francesca Rende et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Human T cell leukemia virus types 1 and 2 (HTLV-1 and HTLV-2) are genetically related complex retroviruses that are capable of immortalizing human T-cells in vitro and establish life-long persistent infections in vivo. In spite of these apparent similarities, HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 exhibit a significantly different pathogenic potential. HTLV-1 is recognized as the causative agent of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) and tropical spastic paraparesis/HTLV-1-associated myelopathy (TSP/HAM). In contrast, HTLV-2 has not been causally linked to human malignancy, although it may increase the risk of developing inflammatory neuropathies and infectious diseases. The present paper is focused on the studies aimed at defining the viral genetic determinants of the pathobiology of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 through a comparison of the expression strategies and functional properties of the different gene products of the two viruses.