Journal of virology

Human herpesvirus 8 infects and replicates in primary cultures of activated B lymphocytes through DC-SIGN.

PMID 18337571


Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) is the etiological agent of Kaposi's sarcoma, primary effusion lymphoma, and some forms of multicentric Castleman's disease. Although latent HHV-8 DNA can be detected in B cells from persons with these cancers, there is little information on the replication of HHV-8 in B cells. Indeed, B cells are relatively resistant to HHV-8 infection in vitro. We have recently shown that DC-SIGN, a C-type lectin first identified on dendritic cells (DC), is an entry receptor for HHV-8 on DC and macrophages. We have also demonstrated previously that B lymphocytes from peripheral blood and tonsils express DC-SIGN and that this expression increases after B-cell activation. Here we show that activated blood and tonsillar B cells can be productively infected with HHV-8, as measured by an increase in viral DNA, the expression of viral lytic and latency proteins, and the production of infectious virus. The infection of B cells with HHV-8 was blocked by the pretreatment of the cells with antibody specific for DC-SIGN or with mannan but not antibody specific for xCT, a cystine/glutamate exchange transporter that has been implicated in HHV-8 fusion to cells. The infection of B cells with HHV-8 resulted in increased expression of DC-SIGN and a decrease in the expression of CD20 and major histocompatibility complex class I. HHV-8 could also infect and replicate in B-cell lines transduced to express full-length DC-SIGN but not in B-cell lines transduced to express DC-SIGN lacking the transmembrane domain, demonstrating that the entry of HHV-8 into B cells is related to DC-SIGN-mediated endocytosis. The role of endocytosis in viral entry into activated B cells was confirmed by blocking HHV-8 infection with endocytic pathway inhibitors. Thus, the expression of DC-SIGN is essential for productive HHV-8 infection of and replication in B cells.

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