Murine retroviral vectors which express the tax1 gene of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) have been constructed. A significant increase in virus titer was achieved by inserting a portion of the gag region of Moloney murine leukemia virus. Using these vectors, tax1 was stably introduced into primary human T-cells derived from peripheral blood lymphocytes. Expression of the functional tax1 in infected cells was confirmed by trans-activation of HTLV-1 long terminal repeat-directed transcription. These vectors provide a useful means of investigating the function of tax1 in natural target cells for HTLV-1.
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