High levels of cytoplasmic HTLV-1 Tax mutant proteins retain a Tax-NF-κB-CBP ternary complex in the cytoplasm

Inbal Azran, Kuan Teh Jeang, Mordechai Aboud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The oncogenic potential of HTLV-1 Tax protein is partially ascribed to its capacity to activate NF-κB. The current view is that Tax acts first in the cytoplasm to dissociate NF-κB factors from the IκB proteins and enable their nuclear translocation, then Tax links p65(RelA), within the nucleus, to CBP/p300 and P/CAF, which are essential for its optimal transcriptional activity. Our present study challenges the paradigm that Tax-p65(RelA)-CBP/p300 assembly occurs in the nucleus. Using Tax mutants defective for nuclear localization we show that at low levels these mutants induce the nuclear translocation of NF-κB factors but not their transcriptional activity, whereas at high levels they trap CBP and free p65(RelA) in the cytoplasm and block, thereby, their transcriptional function. In contrast, wild-type (w.t.) Tax strongly stimulated NF-κB-dependent gene expression in all tested experimental settings. These data suggest that the Tax-p65(RelA)-CBP ternary complex is established in the cytoplasm rather than in the nucleus. When this complex is formed with w.t. Tax, the entire moiety translocates into the nucleus and exerts high transcriptional activity. However, if the complex is formed with the cytoplasmic Tax mutants, the resulting moiety is retained in the cytoplasm and is, therefore, devoid of transcriptional activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4521-4530
Number of pages10
Issue number28
StatePublished - 30 Jun 2005


  • CBP
  • Cytoplasmic Tax mutants
  • HTLV-1
  • NF-κB
  • PKAc
  • Tax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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