Opposing regulation of PROX1 by interleukin-3 receptor and NOTCH directs differential host cell fate reprogramming by Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus.
ABSTRACT: Lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) are differentiated from blood vascular endothelial cells (BECs) during embryogenesis and this physiological cell fate specification is controlled by PROX1, the master regulator for lymphatic development. When Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus (KSHV) infects host cells, it activates the otherwise silenced embryonic endothelial differentiation program and reprograms their cell fates. Interestingly, previous studies demonstrated that KSHV drives BECs to acquire a partial lymphatic phenotype by upregulating PROX1 (forward reprogramming), but stimulates LECs to regain some BEC-signature genes by downregulating PROX1 (reverse reprogramming). Despite the significance of this KSHV-induced bidirectional cell fate reprogramming in KS pathogenesis, its underlying molecular mechanism remains undefined. Here, we report that IL3 receptor alpha (IL3R?) and NOTCH play integral roles in the host cell type-specific regulation of PROX1 by KSHV. In BECs, KSHV upregulates IL3R? and phosphorylates STAT5, which binds and activates the PROX1 promoter. In LECs, however, PROX1 was rather downregulated by KSHV-induced NOTCH signal via HEY1, which binds and represses the PROX1 promoter. Moreover, PROX1 was found to be required to maintain HEY1 expression in LECs, establishing a reciprocal regulation between PROX1 and HEY1. Upon co-activation of IL3R? and NOTCH, PROX1 was upregulated in BECs, but downregulated in LECs. Together, our study provides the molecular mechanism underlying the cell type-specific endothelial fate reprogramming by KSHV.
Project description:Arteriovenous-lymphatic endothelial cell fates are specified by the master regulators, namely, Notch, COUP-TFII, and Prox1. Whereas Notch is expressed in the arteries and COUP-TFII in the veins, the lymphatics express all 3 cell fate regulators. Previous studies show that lymphatic endothelial cell (LEC) fate is highly plastic and reversible, raising a new concept that all 3 endothelial cell fates may co-reside in LECs and a subtle alteration can result in a reprogramming of LEC fate. We provide a molecular basis verifying this concept by identifying a cross-control mechanism among these cell fate regulators. We found that Notch signal down-regulates Prox1 and COUP-TFII through Hey1 and Hey2 and that activated Notch receptor suppresses the lymphatic phenotypes and induces the arterial cell fate. On the contrary, Prox1 and COUP-TFII attenuate vascular endothelial growth factor signaling, known to induce Notch, by repressing vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 and neuropilin-1. We show that previously reported podoplanin-based LEC heterogeneity is associated with differential expression of Notch1 in human cutaneous lymphatics. We propose that the expression of the 3 cell fate regulators is controlled by an exquisite feedback mechanism working in LECs and that LEC fate is a consequence of the Prox1-directed lymphatic equilibrium among the cell fate regulators.
Project description:Kaposi sarcoma, the most common cancer in HIV-positive individuals, is caused by endothelial transformation mediated by the Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus (KSHV)-encoded G-protein-coupled receptor (vGPCR). Infection of blood vascular endothelial cells (BEC) by KSHV reactivates an otherwise silenced embryonic program of lymphatic differentiation. Thus, Kaposi sarcoma tumors express numerous lymphatic endothelial cell (LEC) signature genes. A key unanswered question is how lymphatic reprogramming by the virus promotes tumorigenesis leading to Kaposi sarcoma formation. In this study, we present evidence that this process creates an environment needed to license the oncogenic activity of vGPCR. We found that the G-protein regulator RGS4 is an inhibitor of vGPCR that is expressed in BECs, but not in LECs. RGS4 was downregulated by the master regulator of LEC differentiation PROX1, which is upregulated by KSHV and directs KSHV-induced lymphatic reprogramming. Moreover, we found that KSHV upregulates the nuclear receptor LRH1, which physically interacts with PROX1 and synergizes with it to mediate repression of RGS4 expression. Mechanistic investigations revealed that RGS4 reduced vGPCR-enhanced cell proliferation, migration, VEGF expression, and Akt activation and suppressed tumor formation induced by vGPCR. Our findings resolve long-standing questions about the pathologic impact of KSHV-induced reprogramming of host cell identity, and they offer biologic and mechanistic insights supporting the hypothesis that a lymphatic microenvironment is more favorable for Kaposi sarcoma tumorigenesis.
Project description:Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) induces transcriptional reprogramming of endothelial cells. In particular, KSHV-infected lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) show an up-regulation of genes associated with blood vessel endothelial cells (BECs). Consequently, KSHV-infected tumor cells in Kaposi sarcoma are poorly differentiated endothelial cells, expressing markers of both LECs and BECs. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding RNA molecules that act post-transcriptionally to negatively regulate gene expression. Here we validate expression of the KSHV-encoded miRNAs in Kaposi sarcoma lesions and demonstrate that these miRNAs contribute to viral-induced reprogramming by silencing the cellular transcription factor MAF (musculoaponeurotic fibrosarcoma oncogene homolog). MAF is expressed in LECs but not in BECs. We identify a novel role for MAF as a transcriptional repressor, preventing expression of BEC-specific genes, thereby maintaining the differentiation status of LECs. These findings demonstrate that viral miRNAs could influence the differentiation status of infected cells, and thereby contribute to KSHV-induced oncogenesis.
Project description:During embryonic lymphatic development, a homeobox transcription factor Prox1 plays important roles in sprouting and migration of a subpopulation of blood vessel endothelial cells (BECs) toward VEGF-C-expressing cells. However, effects of Prox1 on endothelial cellular behavior remain to be elucidated. Here, we show that Prox1, via induction of integrin alpha9 expression, inhibits sheet formation and stimulates motility of endothelial cells. Prox1-expressing BECs preferentially migrated toward VEGF-C via up-regulation of the expression of integrin alpha9 and VEGF receptor 3 (VEGFR3). In mouse embryos, expression of VEGFR3 and integrin alpha9 is increased in Prox1-expressing lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) compared with BECs. Knockdown of Prox1 expression in human LECs led to decrease in the expression of integrin alpha9 and VEGFR3, resulting in the decreased chemotaxes toward VEGF-C. These findings suggest that Prox1 plays important roles in conferring and maintaining the characteristics of LECs by modulating multiple signaling cascades and that integrin alpha9 may function as a key regulator of lymphangiogenesis acting downstream of Prox1.
Project description:Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the etiologic agent for Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), which is one of the most common HIV-associated neoplasms. The endothelium is the thin layer of squamous cells where vascular blood endothelial cells (BECs) line the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) are in direct contact with lymphatic vessels. The KS lesions contain a prominent compartment of neoplastic spindle morphology cells that are closely related to LECs. Furthermore, while KSHV can infect both LECs and BECs in vitro, its infection activates genetic programming related to lymphatic endothelial cell fate, suggesting that lymphangiogenic pathways are involved in KSHV infection and malignancy. Here, we report for the first time that viral interferon regulatory factor 3 (vIRF3) is readily detected in over 40% of KS lesions and that vIRF3 functions as a proangiogenic factor, inducing hypersprouting formation and abnormal growth in a LEC-specific manner. Mass spectrometry analysis revealed that vIRF3 interacted with histone deacetylase 5 (HDAC5), which is a signal-responsive regulator for vascular homeostasis. This interaction blocked the phosphorylation-dependent cytosolic translocation of HDAC5 and ultimately altered global gene expression in LECs but not in BECs. Consequently, vIRF3 robustly induced spindle morphology and hypersprouting formation of LECs but not BECs. Finally, KSHV infection led to the hypersprouting formation of LECs, whereas infection with a ?vIRF3 mutant did not do so. Collectively, our data indicate that vIRF3 alters global gene expression and induces a hypersprouting formation in an HDAC5-binding-dependent and LEC-specific manner, ultimately contributing to KSHV-associated pathogenesis.IMPORTANCE Several lines of evidences indicate that KSHV infection of LECs induces pathological lymphangiogenesis and that the results resemble KS-like spindle morphology. However, the underlying molecular mechanism remains unclear. Here, we demonstrated that KSHV vIRF3 is readily detected in over 40% of various KS lesions and functions as a potent prolymphangiogenic factor by blocking the phosphorylation-dependent cytosolic translocation of HDAC5, which in turn modulates global gene expression in LECs. Consequently, vIRF3-HDAC5 interaction contributes to virus-induced lymphangiogenesis. The results of this study suggest that KSHV vIRF3 plays a crucial role in KSHV-induced malignancy.
Project description:Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is the most common cancer among HIV-positive patients. Histogenetic origin of KS has long been elusive due to a mixed expression of both blood and lymphatic endothelial markers in KS tumor cells. However, we and others discovered that Kaposi's sarcoma herpes virus (KSHV) induces lymphatic reprogramming of blood vascular endothelial cells by upregulating PROX1, which functions as the master regulator for lymphatic endothelial differentiation. Here, we demonstrate that the KSHV latent gene kaposin-B enhances the PROX1 mRNA stability and plays an important role in KSHV-mediated PROX1 upregulation. We found that PROX1 mRNA contains a canonical AU-rich element (ARE) in its 3'-untranslated region that promotes PROX1 mRNA turnover and that kaposin-B stimulates cytoplasmic accumulation of the ARE-binding protein HuR through activation of the p38/MK2 pathway. Moreover, HuR binds to and stabilizes PROX1 mRNA through its ARE and is necessary for KSHV-mediated PROX1 mRNA stabilization. Together, our study demonstrates that kaposin-B plays a key role in PROX1 upregulation during lymphatic reprogramming of blood vascular endothelial cells by KSHV.
Project description:The lymphatic sinuses in human lymph nodes (LNs) are crucial to LN function yet their structure remains poorly defined. Much of our current knowledge of lymphatic sinuses derives from rodent models, however human LNs differ substantially in their sinus structure, most notably due to the presence of trabeculae and trabecular lymphatic sinuses that rodent LNs lack. Lymphatic sinuses are bounded and traversed by lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs). A better understanding of LECs in human LNs is likely to improve our understanding of the regulation of cell trafficking within LNs, now an important therapeutic target, as well as disease processes that involve lymphatic sinuses. We therefore sought to map all the LECs within human LNs using multicolor immunofluorescence microscopy to visualize the distribution of a range of putative markers. PROX1 was the only marker that uniquely identified the LECs lining and traversing all the sinuses in human LNs. In contrast, LYVE1 and STAB2 were only expressed by LECs in the paracortical and medullary sinuses in the vast majority of LNs studied, whilst the subcapsular and trabecular sinuses lacked these molecules. These data highlight the existence of at least two distinctive populations of LECs within human LNs. Of the other LEC markers, we confirmed VEGFR3 was not specific for LECs, and CD144 and CD31 stained both LECs and blood vascular endothelial cells (BECs); in contrast, CD59 and CD105 stained BECs but not LECs. We also showed that antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in the sinuses could be clearly distinguished from LECs by their expression of CD169, and their lack of expression of PROX1 and STAB2, or endothelial markers such as CD144. However, both LECs and sinus APCs were stained with DCN46, an antibody commonly used to detect CD209.
Project description:Immunosuppression therapy following organ transplantation is a significant factor in the development and progression of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV)-induced posttransplant Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). Switching from cyclosporine to the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin is reported to promote KS regression without allograft rejection. Examining the underlying molecular basis for this clinical observation, we find that KSHV infection selectively upregulates mTOR signaling in primary human lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs), but not blood endothelial cells (BECs), and sensitizes LECs to rapamycin-induced apoptosis. Viral transcriptome analysis revealed that while infected BECs display conventional latency, KSHV-infected LECs support a radically different program involving widespread deregulation of both latent and lytic genes. ORF45, a lytic gene selectively expressed in infected LECs, is required for mTOR activation and critical for rapamycin sensitivity. These studies reveal the existence of a unique herpesviral gene expression program corresponding to neither canonical latency nor lytic replication, with important pathogenetic and therapeutic consequences.
Project description:The lymphatic vasculature preserves tissue fluid balance by absorbing fluid and macromolecules and transporting them to the blood vessels for circulation. The stepwise process leading to the formation of the mammalian lymphatic vasculature starts by the expression of the gene Prox1 in a subpopulation of blood endothelial cells (BECs) on the cardinal vein (CV) at approximately E9.5. These Prox1-expressing lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) will exit the CV to form lymph sacs, primitive structures from which the entire lymphatic network is derived. Until now, no conclusive information was available regarding the cellular processes by which these LEC progenitors exit the CV without compromising the vein's integrity. We determined that LECs leave the CV by an active budding mechanism. During this process, LEC progenitors are interconnected by VE-cadherin-expressing junctions. Surprisingly, we also found that Prox1-expressing LEC progenitors were present not only in the CV but also in the intersomitic vessels (ISVs). Furthermore, as LEC progenitors bud from the CV and ISVs into the surrounding mesenchyme, they begin expressing the lymphatic marker podoplanin, migrate away from the CV, and form the lymph sacs. Analyzing this process in Prox1-null embryos revealed that Prox1 activity is necessary for LEC progenitors to exit the CV.
Project description:The major function of the lymphatic system is to drain interstitial fluid from tissue. Functional drainage causes increased fluid flow that triggers lymphatic expansion, which is conceptually similar to hypoxia-triggered angiogenesis. Here, we have identified a mechanotransduction pathway that translates laminar flow-induced shear stress to activation of lymphatic sprouting. While low-rate laminar flow commonly induces the classic shear stress responses in blood endothelial cells and lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs), only LECs display reduced Notch activity and increased sprouting capacity. In response to flow, the plasma membrane calcium channel ORAI1 mediates calcium influx in LECs and activates calmodulin to facilitate a physical interaction between Krüppel-like factor 2 (KLF2), the major regulator of shear responses, and PROX1, the master regulator of lymphatic development. The PROX1/KLF2 complex upregulates the expression of DTX1 and DTX3L. DTX1 and DTX3L, functioning as a heterodimeric Notch E3 ligase, concertedly downregulate NOTCH1 activity and enhance lymphatic sprouting. Notably, overexpression of the calcium reporter GCaMP3 unexpectedly inhibited lymphatic sprouting, presumably by disturbing calcium signaling. Endothelial-specific knockouts of Orai1 and Klf2 also markedly impaired lymphatic sprouting. Moreover, Dtx3l loss of function led to defective lymphatic sprouting, while Dtx3l gain of function rescued impaired sprouting in Orai1 KO embryos. Together, the data reveal a molecular mechanism underlying laminar flow-induced lymphatic sprouting.