Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Up-regulation of a cellular protein at the translational level by a retrovirus.

PMID 18378896


Mink cell focus-forming (MCF) murine leukemia viruses (MLVs) are the etiologic agent of thymic lymphoma in mice. We have observed previously that superinfection by MCF13 MLV of certain cell types, such as preleukemic thymic lymphocytes and cultured mink epithelial cells, results in the accumulation of the viral envelope precursor polyprotein, leading to the induction of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. In this study, we demonstrate that the induction of ER stress by MCF13 MLV infection results in an increase in the phosphorylation of the alpha-subunit of eukaryotic initiation factor 2. In cells in which this occurs, we have detected an up-regulation of the cellular inhibitor of apoptosis protein 1 (c-IAP1). The results of real-time RT-PCR quantification of message levels and protein turnover assays indicate that up-regulation of c-IAP1 occurs at the translational level. Elevation of c-IAP1 levels at a posttranscriptional step was detectable in MCF13 MLV-induced thymic lymphomas and chronically infected mink epithelial cells. The ability of a simple retrovirus to regulate cellular gene expression at the translational level may be an important mechanism that contributes to pathogenesis.