Kaposi's sarcoma (KS)-associated herpesvirus or human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) DNA is found consistently in nearly all classical, endemic, transplant, and AIDS-associated KS lesions, as well as in several AIDS- associated lymphomas. We have previously sequenced the genes for the highly variable open reading frame K1 (ORF-K1) protein from more than 60 different HHV8 samples and demonstrated that they display up to 30% amino acid variability and cluster into four very distinct evolutionary subgroups (the A, B, C, and D subtypes) that correlate with the major migrationary diasporas of modern humans. Here we have extended this type of analysis to six other loci across the HHV8 genome to further evaluate overall genotype patterns and the potential for chimeric genomes. Comparison of the relatively conserved ORF26, T0.7/K12, and ORF75 gene regions at map positions 0.35, 0.85, and 0.96 revealed typical ORF-K1-linked subtype patterns, except that between 20 and 30% of the genomes analyzed proved to be either intertypic or intratypic mosaics. In addition, a 2,500-bp region found at the extreme right-hand side of the unique segment in 45 HHV8 genomes proved to be highly diverged from the 3,500-bp sequence found at this position in the other 18 HHV8 genomes examined. Furthermore, these previously uncharacterized 'orphan' region sequences proved to encompass multiexon latent-state mRNAs encoding two highly diverged alleles of the novel ORF-K15 protein. The predominant (P) and minor (M) forms of HHV8 ORF-K15 are structurally related integral membrane proteins that have only 33% overall amino acid identity to one another but retain conserved likely tyrosine kinase signaling motifs and may be distant evolutionary relatives of the LMP2 latency protein of Epstein-Barr virus. The M allele of ORF-K15 is also physically linked to a distinctive M subtype of the adjacent ORF75 gene locus, and in some cases, this linkage extends as far back as the T0.7 locus also. Overall, the results suggest that an original recombination event with a related primate virus from an unknown source introduced exogenous right-hand side ORF-K15(M) sequences into an ancient M form of HHV8, followed by eventual acquisition into the subtype C lineage of the modern P-form of the HHV8 genome and subsequent additional, more recent transfers by homologous recombination events into several subtype A and B lineages as well.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science