Deleted HTLV-I provirus in blood and cutaneous lesions of patients with mycosis fungoides

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Science  19 Jul 1991:
Vol. 253, Issue 5017, pp. 317-320
DOI: 10.1126/science.1857968


Mycosis fungoides, a rare form of cutaneous T cell leukemia/lymphoma, is suspected of having a viral etiology on the basis of certain similarities to adult T cell leukemia, which is associated with human T cell leukemia/lymphoma virus type I (HTLV-I) infection. Cell lines were established from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of an HTLV-I-seronegative patient with mycosis fungoides. DNA hybridization analysis revealed the presence of HTLV-I-related sequences with unusual restriction endonuclease sites. Sequence analysis of subcloned fragments demonstrated the presence of a monoclonally integrated provirus with a 5.5-kilobase deletion involving large regions of gag and env and all of pol. Additional evidence for the presence of deleted proviruses was found by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of DNA from cutaneous lesions of five other HTLV-I-seronegative patients. The findings suggest that HTLV-I infection may be involved in the etiology of at least certain cases of mycosis fungoides.