Comparative Studies of HTLV-1 Particle Assembly and Morphology

Thumbnail Image

Persistent link to this item

View Statistics

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Comparative Studies of HTLV-1 Particle Assembly and Morphology

Published Date




Thesis or Dissertation


Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1; deltaretrovirus genus; Retroviridae) was the first human retrovirus discovered. As the etiological agent of adult T-cell leukemia and HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis, HTLV-1 is responsible for a considerable amount of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Between 5 and 10 million people are infected with HTLV-1, and approximately 500,000 suffer from HTLV-1-related pathologies. Previous observations have implicated HTLV-1 assembly having unique attributes compared with other retroviruses, including human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). The overarching hypothesis under investigation in this dissertation was that the HTLV-1 capsid (CA) domain of Gag encodes the primary determinants that impact immature particle morphology and the process of Gag-Gag oligomerization. To test this hypothesis, experiments were conducted utilizing virus-like particle (VLP) model systems, which demonstrated: 1) HTLV-1 immature particle morphology is unique among retroviral genera, particularly with flat regions of electron density that did not follow viral membrane curvature; 2) the HTLV-1 CA amino-terminal domain (NTD) can functionally replace the HIV-1 CA carboxy-terminal domain (CTD), but the HIV-1 CA NTD cannot replace the HTLV-1 CA CTD, indicating that the HTLV-1 CA subdomains provide distinct contributions to Gag-Gag oligomerization, particle morphology, and particle biogenesis; 3) the discovery of HTLV-1 CA amino acid residues identified by alanine-scanning mutagenesis (i.e., M17, Q47/F48, and Y61) that are important for Gag oligomerization and particle assembly. Taken together, these observations provide new insights into HTLV-1 particle assembly and contributes information that will aid efforts directed towards the discovery of therapeutic targets for intervention in order to prevent the HTLV-1 transmission and pathology in endemic populations.


University of Minnesota PhD dissertation. December 2017. Major: Pharmacology. Advisor: Louis M. Mansky. 1 computer file (PDF): xi, 155 pages.

Related to




Series/Report Number

Funding information

Isbn identifier

Doi identifier

Previously Published Citation

Suggested citation

Martin, Jessica L.. (2017). Comparative Studies of HTLV-1 Particle Assembly and Morphology. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

Content distributed via the University Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor. By using these files, users agree to the Terms of Use. Materials in the UDC may contain content that is disturbing and/or harmful. For more information, please see our statement on harmful content in digital repositories.