We isolated the full length provirus of human T cell leukaemia virus type I (HTLV-I) from MT-2, a lymphoid cell line producing HTLV-I. In three non-lymphoid cell lines (COS7, human osteosarcoma HOS cells, and HeLa) this provirus expressed a transacting activity after co-transfection with a recombinant plasmid carrying a bacterial chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene under the control of a long terminal repeat of HTLV-I provirus. The trans-acting protein p40 was detected by immunoprecipitation in transfected HOS cells. Structural proteins of HTLV-I, the gag and env products, were also formed and processed in the same manner as observed in MT-2 cells. In transfected HeLa cells, the p40 protein was mainly localized in the nucleus, while other structural proteins were detected in the cytoplasm and/or the membrane by indirect immunofluorescence. Syncytium formation was observed in HeLa cells after transfection. These results demonstrated that non-lymphoid cells could produce the major proteins of HTLV-I after DNA transfection of the cloned provirus.
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