Determinants of secretion and intracellular localization of human herpesvirus 8 interleukin-6

Daming Chen, Young Bong Choi, Gordon Sandford, John Nicholas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) interleukin-6 (vIL-6) is distinct from human and other cellular IL-6 proteins in that it does not require the nonsignaling α-receptor subunit for the formation of gp130-based signal transducing complexes and also is largely retained intracellularly rather than being secreted. We and others have reported that vIL-6 is retained and is active in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) compartment, and data from our laboratory have demonstrated that intracellular vIL-6 is functional in the autocrine promotion of proliferation and survival of HHV-8 latently infected primary effusion lymphoma cells. It has also been reported that vIL-6 secretion in gp130-deficient cells can be enhanced by introduced gp130, thereby implicating the signal transducer in vIL-6 trafficking to the cell surface. We examine here the requirements for intracellular retention and localization of vIL-6. Using vIL-6-hIL-6 chimeric and point-mutated vIL-6 proteins, we identified regions and residues of vIL-6 influencing vIL-6 secretion. However, there was no correlation between vIL-6 secretion and gp130 interaction. We found that vIL-6, but not hIL-6, could associate stably with ER-resident chaperone protein calnexin. Glycosylation-dependent interaction of vIL-6 with calnexin correlated with proper protein folding, but there was no direct relationship between vIL-6-calnexin interaction and intracellular retention. While calnexin depletion had little influence on absolute amounts of secreted vIL-6, it led to markedly reduced levels of intracellular cytokine. This was reversed by gp130 transduction, which had no detectable effect on vIL-6 secretion, but redistributed vIL-6 into ER-distinct locations in calnexin-depleted cells, specifically. Our data reveal that calnexin plays a role in ER localization of vIL-6 and that gp130 promotes ER exit, but not secretion, of the viral cytokine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6874-6882
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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