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Biol Cell. 2004 Jun;96(5):349-54.

Insights into the viral G protein-coupled receptor encoded by human herpesvirus type 8 (HHV-8).

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Institut Cochin, Departement de Biologie Cellulaire, 22 rue Mechain, 75014 Paris, France.


HHV-8-GPCR is a chemokine-like receptor encoded by KSHV, the etiologic agent of KS. HHV-8-GPCR is constitutively active. Although it is homologous to mammalian CXCR2, it binds CXC and CC chemokines. Structure-function analysis showed that chemokines bind primarily to the amino terminus whereas signaling occurs in the absence of: the amino terminus, which is, therefore, not a tethered agonist. In in vitro systems, HHV-8-GPCR signals via multiple transduction pathways including, activation of phospholipase C and PKC, inhibition of adenylyl cyclase, activation of nuclear factor-kappaB; activation PI 3-kinase, p42/44 MAPK and Akt/PKB, and activation of JNK/SAPK, p38 MAPK and RAFTK. HHV-8-GPCR is important in the HHV-8 life cycle because HHV-8-GPCR-deficient viruses do not replicate in response to chemokines and exhibit, less efficient reactivation from latency. Although the role of HHV-8-GPCR in the pathogenesis of KS has not been defined, expression of HHV-8-GPCR resulted in the development of angioproliferative, KS-like tumors in transgenic mice. As endothelial cells may be targets of HHV-8 infection, HHV-8-GPCR has been studied in endothelial cells in vitro in which it affects cell adhesion and migration, increases cell survival, and stimulates secretion of proinflammatory cytokines and proangiogenic factors. Based on these findings and the observation that HHV-8-GPCR is expressed in only a few endothelial- like "spindle cells" within KS lesions, we propose that HHV-8-GPCR is involved in KS pathogenesis by stimulating secretion of proinflammatory/proangiogenic factors that act in a paracrine fashion to cause tumorigenesis.

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