A vital discovery has been made by researchers from the University of Minnesota that is expected to hold significance in the development of a strategy to arrest the spread of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1). This highly infectious virus carries infection rates of more than 40% among central Australia adults. It is said to cause lymphoma and leukemia. Virus production is required for cell to cell spread of the first human cancer virus, according to the research. Furthermore, it is critical for the infection to establish itself in the body. The Journal of Virology has published the findings of the research.

HTLV-1 Transmitted through Sexual Contact, Blood Transfusion, and Breastfeeding

The manner in which particles produced by HTLV-1 that could spread to other body cells was investigated in the research. Institute for Molecular Virology (IMV) director, Louis Mansky, Ph.D. and his team created mutations in Gag, the main structural protein of the virus. Later, they investigated how the production of the virus particles is affected by these mutants. After the research was completed, they found out that there are essential amino acid residues carried by the Gag protein required to produce virus particles. Moreover, they discovered that the production of new virus particles finds importance in the structure of the protein.

HTLV-1 is studied to lead to a chronic progressive disease of the spinal cord and cause other acute health conditions, besides being a carcinogen. The assembly of the vital virus protein required to produce a virus particle is different than that of HIV and other viruses.

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