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Expression of human herpesvirus 8 viral Bcl-2 protein was demonstrated in spindle cells of late-stage Kaposi's sarcoma lesions but not in primary effusion lymphoma cell lines. In contrast, strong expression of human Bcl-2 was found in stimulated primary effusion lymphoma cells, whereas in Kaposi's sarcoma lesions preferential mononuclear cells, and to a lesser extent spindle cells, stained positive.
Kaposi's sarcoma (KS)-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), also known as human herpesvirus 8, is an etiologic agent of KS, primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), and multicentric Castleman's disease. We recently demonstrated that hypoxia can induce lytic replication of KSHV in PEL cell lines. Hypoxia induces the accumulation of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF), and we hypothesized that the KSHV genome may respond to hypoxia through functional hypoxia response elements (HREs). Here, we demonstrate the presence of at least two promoters within the KSHV genome that are activated by hypoxia or hypoxia mimics. One is in the promoter region of the gene for Rta, the main lytic switch gene, and the other is within the promoter region of ORF34, a lytic gene of unknown function. The ORF34 promoter contains three putative consensus HREs oriented in the direct...
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