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PLoS Pathog. 2018 May 10;14(5):e1007062. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007062. eCollection 2018 May.

Metabolic reprogramming of Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpes virus infected B-cells in hypoxia.

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Departments of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Microbiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States of America.
Discipline of Biosciences and Biomedical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India.


Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV) infection stabilizes hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs). The interaction between KSHV encoded factors and HIFs plays a critical role in KSHV latency, reactivation and associated disease phenotypes. Besides modulation of large-scale signaling, KSHV infection also reprograms the metabolic activity of infected cells. However, the mechanism and cellular pathways modulated during these changes are poorly understood. We performed comparative RNA sequencing analysis on cells with stabilized hypoxia inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF1α) of KSHV negative or positive background to identify changes in global and metabolic gene expression. Our results show that hypoxia induces glucose dependency of KSHV positive cells with high glucose uptake and high lactate release. We identified the KSHV-encoded vGPCR, as a novel target of HIF1α and one of the main viral antigens of this metabolic reprogramming. Bioinformatics analysis of vGPCR promoter identified 9 distinct hypoxia responsive elements which were activated by HIF1α in-vitro. Expression of vGPCR alone was sufficient for induction of changes in the metabolic phenotype similar to those induced by KSHV under hypoxic conditions. Silencing of HIF1α rescued the hypoxia associated phenotype of KSHV positive cells. Analysis of the host transcriptome identified several common targets of hypoxia as well as KSHV encoded factors and other synergistically activated genes belonging to cellular pathways. These include those involved in carbohydrate, lipid and amino acids metabolism. Further DNA methyltranferases, DNMT3A and DNMT3B were found to be regulated by either KSHV, hypoxia, or both synergistically at the transcript and protein levels. This study showed distinct and common, as well as synergistic effects of HIF1α and KSHV-encoded proteins on metabolic reprogramming of KSHV-infected cells in the hypoxia.

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