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J Virol. 2013 Feb;87(4):2242-52. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01393-12. Epub 2012 Dec 12.

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus oncoprotein K13 protects against B cell receptor-induced growth arrest and apoptosis through NF-κB activation.

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Jane Anne Nohl Division of Hematology and Center for the Study of Blood Diseases, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California, USA.


Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) has been linked to the development of Kaposi's sarcoma, primary effusion lymphoma, and multicentric Castleman's disease (MCD). We have characterized the role of KSHV-encoded viral FLICE inhibitory protein (vFLIP) K13 in the modulation of anti-IgM-induced growth arrest and apoptosis in B cells. We demonstrate that K13 protects WEHI 231, an immature B-cell line, against anti-IgM-induced growth arrest and apoptosis. The protective effect of K13 was associated with the activation of the NF-κB pathway and was deficient in a mutant K13 with three alanine substitutions at positions 58 to 60 (K13-58AAA) and a structural homolog, vFLIP E8, both of which lack NF-κB activity. K13 upregulated the expression of NF-κB subunit RelB and blocked the anti-IgM-induced decline in c-Myc and rise in p27(Kip1) that have been associated with growth arrest and apoptosis. K13 also upregulated the expression of Mcl-1, an antiapoptotic member of the Bcl2 family. Finally, K13 protected the mature B-cell line Ramos against anti-IgM-induced apoptosis through NF-κB activation. Inhibition of anti-IgM-induced apoptosis by K13 may contribute to the development of KSHV-associated lymphoproliferative disorders.

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