The Family of Human T-Cell Leukemia Viruses and Their Role in the Cause of T-Cell Leukemia and AIDS

  • R. C. Gallo
  • G. Shaw
  • B. Hahn
  • F. Wong-Staal
  • M. Popovic
  • J. Schupbach
  • M. G. Sarngadharan
  • S. Arya
  • S. Z. Salahuddin
  • M. S. ReitzJr.
Part of the Developments in Oncology book series (DION, volume 28)


HTLV is the generic name we gave the first human retroviruses. The majority of isolates are very closely related; we call them human T-cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-I). HTLV-I is endemic (at low rates) in the Caribbean, South and Central America, southeast U.S., southern Japan, and especially Africa. Viruses closely related to HTLV-I, but distinct from it, have been isolated from Old World monkeys. This and other facts led us to propose that the ancestral origin of HTLV is in Africa. Evidence indicates that HTLV-I is the direct cause of an aggressive form of adult T-cell leukemia and lymphoma. The mechanisms involved in the in vitro immortalization and in vivo malignancy are not yet clear but apparently do not involve any visible consistent chromosomal change, consistent virus expression, or known onc genes. Whichever the mechanism for growth induction by HTLV-I, its efficiency in causing malignancy may be because it has dual major effects on infected cells: (1) immortalization of some T cells, and (2) interference with function and cytopathic changes in many others. In collaboration with D. Golde and colleagues, we also discovered a second class of human T-lymphotropic retroviruses (HTLV-II). It shares many features with HTLV-I but has major genomic differences.


Acquire Immune Deficiency Syndrome Hairy Cell Leukemia Acquire Immune Deficiency Syndrome Patient Kalyanaraman Versus 
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishing, Boston 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. C. Gallo
    • 1
  • G. Shaw
    • 1
  • B. Hahn
    • 1
  • F. Wong-Staal
    • 1
  • M. Popovic
    • 1
  • J. Schupbach
    • 1
  • M. G. Sarngadharan
    • 1
  • S. Arya
    • 1
  • S. Z. Salahuddin
    • 1
  • M. S. ReitzJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology, Developmental Therapeutics Program, Division of Cancer TreatmentNational Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA

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