Alpha-2a interferon (IFN-α2a) has beneficial clinical effects on human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection, but its antiviral mechanism of action is unknown. Antiviral effects of IFN-α2a were studied in 293T cells expressing HTLV-1 proviral DNA and in HTLV-1-infected cells (HOS/PL, MT2, and HUT102). In 293T cells, an 50% inhibitory concentration of 10 U of IFN-α2a/ml was determined by p19 antigen ELISA. Analysis of IFN-treated cells demonstrated no defect in viral protein synthesis but did show a decrease in the level of released virus, as determined by immunoblot assays. Electron microscopy studies of IFN-treated cells revealed neither a defect in the site of virus budding nor tethering of virus particles at the plasma membrane, thus arguing against an effect on virus release. Cell fractionation studies and confocal microscopy showed no effect of IFN on Gag association with membranes. However, the level of Gag association with lipid rafts was decreased, suggesting a role of IFN in inhibiting HTLV-1 assembly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13389-13395
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2003


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