The human T-lymphotropic viruses types I and II (HTLV-I and -II) have been etiologically linked with certain T-cell leukemias and lymphomas that characteristically display membrane receptors for interleukin-2. The relation of these viruses to this growth factor receptor has remained unexplained. It is demonstrated here that introduction of the trans-activator (tat) gene of HTLV-II into the Jurkat T-lymphoid cell line results in the induction of both interleukin-2 receptor and interleukin-2 gene expression. The coexpression of these cellular genes may play a role in the altering T-cell growth following retroviral infection.

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