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Nat Med. 2003 Mar;9(3):300-6. Epub 2003 Feb 18.

A novel viral mechanism for dysregulation of beta-catenin in Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus latency.

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Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


The Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) is expressed in all KSHV-associated tumors, including Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) and primary effusion lymphoma (PEL). We found that beta-catenin is overexpressed in both PEL cells and KS tissue. Introduction of anti-LANA small interfering RNA (siRNA) into PEL cells eliminated beta-catenin accumulation; LANA itself upregulated expression of beta-catenin in transfected cells. LANA stabilizes beta-catenin by binding to the negative regulator GSK-3beta, causing a cell cycle-dependent nuclear accumulation of GSK-3beta. The LANA C terminus contains sequences similar to the GSK-3beta-binding domain of Axin. Disruption of this region resulted in a mutant LANA that failed to re-localize GSK-3beta or stabilize beta-catenin. The importance of this pathway to KSHV-driven cell proliferation was highlighted by the observation that LANA, but not mutant LANA, stimulates entry into S phase. Redistribution of GSK-3beta can therefore be a source of beta-catenin dysregulation in human cancers.

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