Human herpesvirus 8 K1-associated nuclear factor-kappa B-dependent promoter activity: role in Kaposi's sarcoma inflammation?

F. Samaniego, S. Pati, J. E. Karp, O. Prakash, D. Bose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The growing number of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infections worldwide and the increasing use of immunosuppressive modalities for organ transplantation have contributed to an epidemic of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), which has been etiologically linked to human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) or KS-associated virus. Since the onset of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome epidemic, inflammation has been recognized as an essential component of KS pathology. HHV8 bears a gene (K1) encoding a transmembrane protein with an immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif. This motif is present in receptors that mediate inflammation. PURPOSE: To dissect the cellular effects of K1 function and the eventual role of K1 in KS, we developed a cell model for studying K1 expression. METHODS: K1 was cloned from BC-3 lymphoma cells. To monitor transcriptional activation, K1 was coexpressed with plasmids containing luciferase under control of various promoters. K1 expression was monitored by indirect immunofluorescence and by combined immunoprecipitation/immunoblot analysis. Inflammatory cytokines were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. RESULTS: Cellular transfection of the K1 gene induced reporter expression under control of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB), which controls the transcription of numerous proteins involved in inflammation. Treatment of cells with aspirin, an agent that targets this intracellular pathway and blocks cell inflammatory responses, blocked K1-induced NF-kappaB-dependent promoter activity. When a second KS cofactor, i.e., the HIV-1-transactivating gene tat, was coexpressed with K1, we observed an additive effect on NF-kappaB-dependent transcription. K1 transfection stimulated the secretion of cytokines interleukin (IL) 6, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, and IL-12. Cells treated with the conditioned media of K1 transfectants exhibited similar characteristics of K1 transfectants, indicating that a paracrine loop was being activated. CONCLUSION: Thus, K1 may activate cells in which it is expressed, as well as other cells in a paracrine manner. K1 cooperates in signaling with HIV-1 Tat, suggesting that both of the proteins from these viruses converge to reach an enhanced level of inflammation that may underlie progressive KS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute. Monographs
Issue number28
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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