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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2017 Oct 19;372(1732). pii: 20160275. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2016.0275.

Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus pathogenesis.

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Institute of Virology, Hannover Medical School, Carl Neuberg Strasse 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany.
German Centre for Infection Research, Hannover-Braunschweig site, Hannover, Germany.
Institute of Virology, Hannover Medical School, Carl Neuberg Strasse 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany


Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV), taxonomical name human gammaherpesvirus 8, is a phylogenetically old human virus that co-evolved with human populations, but is now only common (seroprevalence greater than 10%) in sub-Saharan Africa, around the Mediterranean Sea, parts of South America and in a few ethnic communities. KSHV causes three human malignancies, Kaposi sarcoma, primary effusion lymphoma, and many cases of the plasmablastic form of multicentric Castleman's disease (MCD) as well as occasional cases of plasmablastic lymphoma arising from MCD; it has also been linked to rare cases of bone marrow failure and hepatitis. As it has colonized humans physiologically for many thousand years, cofactors are needed to allow it to unfold its pathogenic potential. In most cases, these include immune defects of genetic, iatrogenic or infectious origin, and inflammation appears to play an important role in disease development. Our much improved understanding of its life cycle and its role in pathogenesis should now allow us to develop new therapeutic strategies directed against key viral proteins or intracellular pathways that are crucial for virus replication or persistence. Likewise, its limited (for a herpesvirus) distribution and transmission should offer an opportunity for the development and use of a vaccine to prevent transmission.This article is part of the themed issue 'Human oncogenic viruses'.


DNA damage response; KSHV; KSHV-related diseases; aberrant angiogenesis; innate immune evasion; viral infection

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