Molecular biology of human herpesvirus 8: Novel functions and virus-host interactions implicated in viral pathogenesis and replication

Emily Cousins, John Nicholas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

18 Scopus citations


Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), also known as Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), is the second identified human gammaherpesvirus. Like its relative Epstein-Barr virus, HHV-8 is linked to B-cell tumors, specifically primary effusion lymphoma and multicentric Castleman's disease, in addition to endothelial-derived KS. HHV-8 is unusual in its possession of a plethora of "accessory" genes and encoded proteins in addition to the core, conserved herpesvirus and gammaherpesvirus genes that are necessary for basic biological functions of these viruses. The HHV-8 accessory proteins specify not only activities deducible from their cellular protein homologies but also novel, unsuspected activities that have revealed new mechanisms of virus-host interaction that serve virus replication or latency and may contribute to the development and progression of virus-associated neoplasia. These proteins include viral interleukin-6 (vIL-6), viral chemokines (vCCLs), viral G protein-coupled receptor (vGPCR), viral interferon regulatory factors (vIRFs), and viral antiapoptotic proteins homologous to FLICE (FADD-like IL-1β converting enzyme)-inhibitory protein (FLIP) and survivin. Other HHV-8 proteins, such as signaling membrane receptors encoded by open reading frames K1 and K15, also interact with host mechanisms in unique ways and have been implicated in viral pathogenesis. Additionally, a set of micro-RNAs encoded by HHV-8 appear to modulate expression of multiple host proteins to provide conditions conducive to virus persistence within the host and could also contribute to HHV-8-induced neoplasia. Here, we review the molecular biology underlying these novel virus-host interactions and their potential roles in both virus biology and virus-associated disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationViruses and Human Cancer
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Basic Science to Clinical Prevention
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages42
ISBN (Print)9783642389641
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameRecent Results in Cancer Research
ISSN (Print)0080-0015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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