Abstract

Human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV) is a human type-C RNA tumor virus (retrovirus) previously identified in and isolated from several patients with T-cell leukemias or lymphomas. The known virus isolates from the United States and Japan are closely related and are found in adults with an acute malignancy of mature T cells. A related retrovirus has been found in a patient (Mo) with a somewhat different disease (a T-cell variant of relatively benign hairy cell leukemia). Serum from Mo contains antibodies to the major internal core protein (p24) of HTLV. A T-cell line established from the spleen of Mo expresses HTLV antigens. However, HTLV from Mo is significantly different from all previous HTLV isolates in immunological cross-reactivity tests of p24. The usual prototype HTLV isolate is represented as HTLV-I, and the HTLV from Mo is represented as HTLV-II. Individual members of each subgroup may then be identified by subscript initials of the patient [for example, HTLV-I(CR), HTLV-I(MB), and HTLV-II(Mo)].

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