A Bcl-2 homolog encoded by Kaposi sarcoma-associated virus, human herpesvirus 8, inhibits apoptosis but does not heterodimerize with Bax or Bak

Emily H.Y. Cheng, John Nicholas, David S. Bellows, Gary S. Hayward, Hong Guano Guo, Marvin S. Reitz, J. Marie Hardwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Bcl-2 protein family is characterized by the ability to modulate cell death, and members of this family share two highly conserved domains called Bcl-2 homology 1 (BH1) and 2 (BH2) which have been shown to be critical for the death-repressor activity of Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L). Through sequence analysis we identified a novel viral Bcl-2 homolog, designated KSbcl-2, from human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) or Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. The overall amino acid sequence identity between KSbcl-2 and other Bcl-2 homologs is low (15-20%) but concentrated within the BH1 and BH2 regions. Overexpression of KSbcl-2 blocked apoptosis as efficiently as Bcl- 2, Bcl-x(L), or another viral Bcl-2 homolog encoded by Epstein-Barr virus, BHRF1. Interestingly, KS-bcl-2 neither homodimerizes nor heterodimerizes with other Bcl-2 family members, suggesting that KSbcl-2 may have evolved to escape any negative regulatory effects of the cellular Bax and Bak proteins. Furthermore, the herpesvirus Bcl-2 homologs including KSbcl-2, BHRF1, and ORF16 of herpesvirus saimiri contain poorly conserved Bcl-2 homology 3 (BH3) domains compared with other mammalian Bcl-2 homologs, implying that BH3 may not be essential for anti-apoptotic function. This is consistent with our observation that amino acid substitutions within the BH3 domain of Bcl-X(L) had no effect on its death-suppressor activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)690-694
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume94
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 21 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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