Although the p21X protein of human T cell leukaemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is generally thought to be expressed from a doubly spliced mRNA transcript ( mRNA) that encodes the p40tax, p27rex and p21X proteins, we have shown previously that a novel, alternatively spliced mRNA transcript (p21X mRNA) is responsible for p21X production in HTLV-1-infected cell lines. In the present study, we analysed expression of p21X mRNA and mRNA in uncultured and cultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from eight patients with adult T cell leukaemia by using a quantitative polymerase chain reaction coupled to reverse transcription. The results demonstrated that the expression of p21X mRNA occurs constitutively in all uncultured and cultured PBMCs, whereas the expression of mRNA is inducible in the cultured PBMCs, as described previously. In uncultured and cultured PBMCs from the one specimen in which p21X mRNA was highly expressed, the p21X protein was detectable by Western blotting. On the other hand, p27rex protein was detectable only after cultivation. These findings indicate that p21X mRNA is constitutively expressed and is responsible for production of p21X protein.


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