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Nature. 1997 Jan 23;385(6614):347-50.

Human herpesvirus KSHV encodes a constitutively active G-protein-coupled receptor linked to cell proliferation.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Cornell University Medical College, New York 10021, USA.


Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV, also known as human herpesvirus 8, or HHV 8) is a virus that is consistently present in Kaposi's sarcoma and in primary-effusion (body-cavity-based) lymphomas, malignancies that occur frequently, but not exclusively, in AIDS patients. KSHV is a gamma herpesvirus with homology to herpesvirus Saimiri and Epstein-Barr virus, both of which can transform lymphocytes. Cloning of a KSHV genome fragment revealed the presence of an open reading frame encoding a putative G-protein-coupled receptor that is homologous to a G-protein-coupled receptor encoded by herpesvirus Saimiri and to human interleukin-8 receptors. Here we show that the KSHV G-protein-coupled receptor is a bona fide signalling receptor which has constitutive (agonist-independent) activity in the phosphoinositide-inositoltrisphosphate-protein kinase C pathway. Furthermore, the KSHV G-protein-coupled receptor stimulates cellular proliferation, making it a candidate viral oncogene.

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