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Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) causes several tumors and hyperproliferative disorders. Hypoxia and hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) activate latent and lytic KSHV genes, and several KSHV proteins increase the cellular levels of HIF. Here, we used RNA sequencing, qRT-PCR, Taqman assays, and pathway analysis to explore the miRNA and mRNA response of uninfected and KSHV-infected cells to hypoxia, to compare this with the genetic changes seen in chronic latent KSHV infection, and to explore the degree to which hypoxia and KSHV infection interact in modulating mRNA and miRNA expression. We found that the gene expression signatures for KSHV infection and hypoxia have a 34% overlap. Moreover, there were considerable similarities between the genes up-regulated by hypoxia in uninfected (SLK) and in KSHV-infected (SLKK) cells. hsa-miR-210, a HIF-target known to have pro-angiogenic and anti-apoptotic properties, was significantly up-regulated by both KSHV infection and hypoxia using Taqman assays. Interestingly, expression of KSHV-encoded miRNAs was not affected by hypoxia. These results demonstrate that KSHV harnesses a part of the hypoxic cellular response and that a substantial portion of hypoxia-induced changes in cellular gene expression are induced by KSHV infection. Therefore, targeting hypoxic pathways may be a useful way to develop therapeutic strategies for KSHV-related diseases.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS Pathog

Publication Date





Base Sequence, Cell Hypoxia, Cell Line, Tumor, Computational Biology, Endothelial Cells, Gene Expression Regulation, Herpesvirus 8, Human, High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing, Humans, MicroRNAs, Sarcoma, Kaposi, Sequence Analysis, RNA