Human Jurkat T cells containing a stably integrated human T cell leukaemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) long terminal repeat (LTR) reporter gene construct were used to study the role of calcium-dependent cellular activation pathways in LTR trans-activation. Treatment of these cells with the calcium ionophore ionomycin resulted in a reduced basal response of the LTR and reduced responses to 12--tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate- and Tax-mediated trans-activation. This effect was also observed for virus production in the HTLV-1-producing T cell line MT-2. Experiments designed to determine the events underlying this inhibition, using inhibitors of calcium-related events, revealed that the ionomycin-induced repression of the LTR was alleviated in all cases by cyclosporin A. This compound was also effective in preventing the ionomycin-induced reduction in virus production in MT-2 cells. These results suggest a role for calcium-related events in the down-regulation of HTLV-1 expression.


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