Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus promotes endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition through Notch-dependent signaling.
ABSTRACT: Endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndMT) is now widely considered a pivotal contributor to cancer progression. In this study, we show that the Kaposi's sarcoma (KS)-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is a sufficient cause of EndMT, potentially helping to explain the aggressiveness of KS that occurs commonly in AIDS patients. Upon KSHV infection, primary dermal microvascular endothelial cells lost expression of endothelial markers and acquired expression of mesenchymal markers, displaying new invasive and migratory properties along with increased survival. KSHV activated Notch-induced transcription factors Slug and ZEB1, and canonical Notch signaling was required for KSHV-induced EndMT. In contrast, KSHV did not utilize the TGF? signaling pathway, which has also been linked to EndMT. Within KS lesions, KSHV-infected spindle cells displayed features compatible with KSHV-induced EndMT including a complex phenotype of endothelial and mesenchymal properties, Notch activity, and nuclear ZEB1 expression. Our results show that KSHV engages the EndMT program to increase the invasiveness and survival of infected endothelial cells, traits that likely contribute to viral persistence and malignant progression. One important implication of our findings is that therapeutic approaches to disrupt the Notch pathway may offer novel approaches for KS treatment.
Project description: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:Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is an oncogenic virus and the culprit behind the human disease Kaposi sarcoma (KS), an AIDS-defining malignancy. KSHV encodes a viral G-protein-coupled receptor (vGPCR) critical for the initiation and progression of KS. In this study, we identified that YAP/TAZ, two homologous oncoproteins inhibited by the Hippo tumor suppressor pathway, are activated in KSHV-infected cells in vitro, KS-like mouse tumors and clinical human KS specimens. The KSHV-encoded vGPCR acts through Gq/11 and G12/13 to inhibit the Hippo pathway kinases Lats1/2, promoting the activation of YAP/TAZ. Furthermore, depletion of YAP/TAZ blocks vGPCR-induced cell proliferation and tumorigenesis in a xenograft mouse model. The vGPCR-transformed cells are sensitive to pharmacologic inhibition of YAP. Our study establishes a pivotal role of the Hippo pathway in mediating the oncogenic activity of KSHV and development of KS, and also suggests a potential of using YAP inhibitors for KS intervention.
Project description:Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a mesenchymal tumour, which is caused by Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) and develops under inflammatory conditions. KSHV-infected endothelial spindle cells, the neoplastic cells in KS, show increased invasiveness, attributed to the elevated expression of metalloproteinases (MMPs) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). The majority of these spindle cells harbour latent KSHV genomes, while a minority undergoes lytic reactivation with subsequent production of new virions and viral or cellular chemo- and cytokines, which may promote tumour invasion and dissemination. In order to better understand KSHV pathogenesis, we investigated cellular mechanisms underlying the lytic reactivation of KSHV. Using a combination of small molecule library screening and siRNA silencing we found a STE20 kinase family member, MAP4K4, to be involved in KSHV reactivation from latency and to contribute to the invasive phenotype of KSHV-infected endothelial cells by regulating COX-2, MMP-7, and MMP-13 expression. This kinase is also highly expressed in KS spindle cells in vivo. These findings suggest that MAP4K4, a known mediator of inflammation, is involved in KS aetiology by regulating KSHV lytic reactivation, expression of MMPs and COX-2, and, thereby modulating invasiveness of KSHV-infected endothelial cells.
Project description:Axl is an oncogenic receptor tyrosine kinase that plays multiple roles in tumorigenesis and metastasis of many cancers. This study is the first to demonstrate that Axl is induced in Kaposi sarcoma and Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) transformed endothelial cells. Conditionally, expression of one KSHV latency protein vFLIP induces Axl expression in endothelial cells. This induction can be blocked by nuclear factor-kappaB inhibitor, consistent with the known vFLIP mechanism of action. KS cell lines lacking KSHV also have elevated Axl expression, which probably resulted from hypomethylation of AXL promoter. Axl activation activates downstream phosphoinositol-3 kinase signaling, and Axl knockdown by siRNA impairs phosphoinositol-3 kinase signaling. Furthermore, Axl knockdown inhibits KS cell growth and invasion. To explore the potential for translation of these findings, we generated monoclonal antibodies to block the biologic functions of Axl. MAb173, which induces receptor degradation, showed activity in vitro to inhibit KS cell invasion. Moreover, in vivo xenograft studies with KS cells with or without KSHV infection showed that MAb173 reduced tumor growth, increased tumor cell apoptosis, and markedly decreased Axl protein level in tumors. Axl thus has a potential role in KS pathogenesis and is a candidate for prognostic and therapeutic investigations.
Project description:Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is associated with Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), and multicentric Castleman's disease. Most KS tumor cells are latently infected with KSHV and are of endothelial origin. While PEL-derived cell lines maintain KSHV indefinitely, all KS tumor-derived cells to date have lost viral genomes upon ex vivo cultivation. To study KSHV latency and tumorigenesis in endothelial cells, we generated telomerase-immortalized human umbilical vein endothelial (TIVE) cells. TIVE cells express all KSHV latent genes 48 h postinfection, and productive lytic replication could be induced by RTA/Orf50. Similar to prior models, infected cultures gradually lost viral episomes. However, we also obtained, for the first time, two endothelial cell lines in which KSHV episomes were maintained indefinitely in the absence of selection. Long-term KSHV maintenance correlated with loss of reactivation in response to RTA/Orf50 and complete oncogenic transformation. Long-term-infected TIVE cells (LTC) grew in soft agar and proliferated under reduced-serum conditions. LTC, but not parental TIVE cells, formed tumors in nude mice. These tumors expressed high levels of the latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) and expressed lymphatic endothelial specific antigens as found in KS (LYVE-1). Furthermore, host genes, like those encoding interleukin 6, vascular endothelial growth factor, and basic fibroblast growth factor, known to be highly expressed in KS lesions were also induced in LTC-derived tumors. KSHV-infected LTCs represent the first xenograft model for KS and should be of use to study KS pathogenesis and for the validation of anti-KS drug candidates.
Project description:Kaposi sarcoma (KS), a human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8; also called KSHV)-induced endothelial tumor, develops only in a small fraction of individuals infected with HHV-8. We hypothesized that inborn errors of immunity to HHV-8 might underlie the exceedingly rare development of classic KS in childhood. We report here autosomal recessive OX40 deficiency in an otherwise healthy adult with childhood-onset classic KS. OX40 is a co-stimulatory receptor expressed on activated T cells. Its ligand, OX40L, is expressed on various cell types, including endothelial cells. We found OX40L was abundantly expressed in KS lesions. The mutant OX40 protein was poorly expressed on the cell surface and failed to bind OX40L, resulting in complete functional OX40 deficiency. The patient had a low proportion of effector memory CD4(+) T cells in the peripheral blood, consistent with impaired CD4(+) T cell responses to recall antigens in vitro. The proportion of effector memory CD8(+) T cells was less diminished. The proportion of circulating memory B cells was low, but the antibody response in vivo was intact, including the response to a vaccine boost. Together, these findings suggest that human OX40 is necessary for robust CD4(+) T cell memory and confers apparently selective protective immunity against HHV-8 infection in endothelial cells.
Project description:The Kaposi’s Sarcoma-associated Herpesvirus (KSHV) is the etiologic agent of several human cancers, including Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS), which preferentially arise in immunocompromised patients but lack of effective therapeutic options. We have previously shown that KSHV or viral protein LANA can upregulate the glycoprotein CD147 (Emmprin) to induce primary endothelial cell invasiveness, which also requires PI3K/Akt and MAPK activation of VEGF production. In the current study, we first time identify the global network controlled by CD147 in KSHV-infected endothelial cells using Illumina microarray analysis. Among these downstream genes, ADAMTS1 and 9, two specific metalloproteases are strongly expressed in AIDS-KS tissues and contributed to KSHV-infected cell invasiveness through regulation of related cytokines production and respective receptors expression. By using a nude mice KS-like model, we found that targeting CD147 and downstream ADAMTSs proteins significantly suppressed KSHV-related tumorigenesis in vivo, which is potentially through impairing extracellular matrix (ECM) formation in tumor microenvironment. Taken together, we think that targeting CD147 and related proteins may represent a promising therapeutic strategy against KSHV-related malignancies. HUVEC cells were infected by KSHV or transduced by a CD147 recombinant adenoviral vector and the gene expression signature was compared to respective controls
Project description:Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is the most common neoplasm of people living with HIV today. In Sub-Saharan Africa, KS is among the most common cancers in men, overall. Not only HIV-positive individuals present with KS; any immune compromised person infected with KS-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) or human herpesvirus 8 is at risk: the elderly, children in KSHV-endemic areas, and transplant recipients. KS diagnosis is based on detection of the viral protein latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) in the biopsy, but not all cases of KS are the same or will respond to the same therapy. Standard KS therapy has not changed in 20 years, but newer modalities are on the horizon and will be discussed.