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PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e31652. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031652. Epub 2012 Feb 9.

Herpes simplex virus type 2 triggers reactivation of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus from latency and collaborates with HIV-1 Tat.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, People's Republic of China.


Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) infection was necessary but not sufficient for Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) development without other cofactors. Previously, we identified that both human immunodeficiency type 1 (HIV-1) Tat and herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) were important cofactors reactivating KSHV from latency. Here, we further investigated the potential of herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) to influence KSHV replication and examined the role of Tat in this procedure. We demonstrated that HSV-2 was a potentially important factor in the pathogenesis of KS, as determined by production of lytic phase mRNA transcripts, viral proteins and infectious viral particles in BCBL-1 cells. These results were further confirmed by an RNA interference experiment using small interfering RNA targeting KSHV Rta and a luciferase reporter assay testing Rta promoter-driven luciferase activity. Mechanistic studies showed that HSV-2 infection activated nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) signaling pathway. Inhibition of NF-κB pathway enhanced HSV-2-mediated KSHV activation, whereas activation of NF-κB pathway suppressed KSHV replication in HSV-2-infected BCBL-1 cells. Additionally, ectopic expression of Tat enhanced HSV-2-induced KSHV replication. These novel findings suggest a role of HSV-2 in the pathogenesis of KS and provide the first laboratory evidence that Tat may participate HSV-2-mediated KSHV activation, implying the complicated pathogenesis of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related KS (AIDS-KS) patients.

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