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PLoS Pathog. 2011 Apr;7(4):e1001331. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1001331. Epub 2011 Apr 7.

The MARCH family E3 ubiquitin ligase K5 alters monocyte metabolism and proliferation through receptor tyrosine kinase modulation.

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Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.


Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) lesions are complex mixtures of KS-associated herpesvirus (KSHV)-infected spindle and inflammatory cells. In order to survive the host immune responses, KSHV encodes a number of immunomodulatory proteins, including the E3 ubiquitin ligase K5. In exploring the role of this viral protein in monocytes, we made the surprising discovery that in addition to a potential role in down regulation of immune responses, K5 also contributes to increased proliferation and alters cellular metabolism. This ubiquitin ligase increases aerobic glycolysis and lactate production through modulation of cellular growth factor-binding receptor tyrosine kinase endocytosis, increasing the sensitivity of cells to autocrine and paracrine factors. This leads to an altered pattern of cellular phosphorylation, increases in Akt activation and a longer duration of Erk1/2 phosphorylation. Overall, we believe this to be the first report of a virally-encoded ubiquitin ligase potentially contributing to oncogenesis through alterations in growth factor signaling cascades and opens a new avenue of research in K5 biology.

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