2012, Vol.8(9), p.e1002927
Kaposi's Sarcoma (KS), caused by Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV), is a highly vascularised angiogenic tumor of endothelial cells, characterized by latently KSHV-infected spindle cells and a pronounced inflammatory infiltrate. Several KSHV proteins, including LANA-1 (ORF73), vCyclin (ORF72), vGPCR (ORF74), vIL6 (ORF-K2), vCCL-1 (ORF-K6), vCCL-2 (ORF-K4) and K1 have been shown to exert effects that can lead to the proliferation and atypical differentiation of endothelial cells and/or the secretion of cytokines with angiogenic and inflammatory properties (VEGF, bFGF, IL6, IL8, GROα, and TNFβ). To investigate a role of the KSHV K15 protein in KSHV-mediated angiogenesis, we carried out a genome wide gene expression analysis on primary endothelial cells infected with KSHV wildtype (KSHVwt) and a KSHV K15 deletion mutant (KSHVΔK15). We found RCAN1/DSCR1 (Regulator of Calcineurin 1/Down Syndrome critical region 1), a cellular gene involved in angiogenesis, to be differentially expressed in KSHVwt- vs KSHVΔK15-infected cells. During physiological angiogenesis, expression of RCAN1 in endothelial cells is regulated by VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) through a pathway involving the activation of PLCγ1, Calcineurin and NFAT1. We found that K15 directly recruits PLCγ1, and thereby activates Calcineurin/NFAT1-dependent RCAN1 expression which results in the formation of angiogenic tubes. Primary endothelial cells infected with KSHVwt form angiogenic tubes upon activation of the lytic replication cycle. This effect is abrogated when K15 is deleted (KSHVΔK15) or silenced by an siRNA targeting the K15 expression. Our study establishes K15 as one of the KSHV proteins that contribute to KSHV-induced angiogenesis. ; Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV) causes a multifocal angio-proliferative neoplasm, Kaposi's Sarcoma (KS), whose development involves angiogenic growth factors and cytokines. The K15 protein of KSHV upregulates the host factor RCAN1/DSCR1. RCAN1/DSCR1 has been implicated in angiogenesis but its role in KS has never been investigated. In this study we show that the increased expression of RCAN1/DSCR1 in KSHV-infected endothelial cells depends on K15 and that K15, by recruiting PLCγ1, activates PLCγ1, Calcineurin and NFAT1 to induce RCAN1/DSCR1 expression and capillary tube formation. Deleting the K15 gene from the viral genome, or silencing its expression with siRNA, reduces the ability of KSHV to induce angiogenesis in infected endothelial cells in tissue culture. These findings suggest that the K15 protein contributes to the angiogenic properties of this virus.
Research Article ; Biology