Sci. STKE, 19 November 2002
Virology Viral Pusher, Cell Junkie
Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) causes B cell lymphomas as well as blood-filled skin tumors in which the virus multiplies along with the tumor cells. Virus infections induce the host to produce interferon-α, a mediator of innate immune responses. Chatterjee et al. show that interferon-α stimulates the KSHV-infected cells to produce a mimic of a host cytokine, interleukin 6. The host's IL-6 binds to two cell surface receptors, gp80 and gp130, but viral IL-6 needs only gp130 to signal the cell. During other virus infections, interferon-α inhibits gp80 expression, preventing IL-6 binding, dooming the infected cells to death by apoptosis, and contributing to clearing the host of infection. By contrast, KSHV IL-6 continues to signal the cell via gp130 alone, effectively immortalizing the cell, and allowing it and the virus to proliferate together.
Citation: Viral Pusher, Cell Junkie. Sci. STKE 2002, tw433 (2002).
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