COX-2/PGE2: molecular ambassadors of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpes virus oncoprotein-v-FLIP.

Academic Article


  • Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) latent oncoprotein viral FLICE (FADD-like interferon converting enzyme)-like inhibitory protein (v-FLIP) or K13, a potent activator of NF-κB, has well-established roles in KSHV latency and oncogenesis. KSHV-induced COX-2 represents a novel strategy employed by KSHV to promote latency and inflammation/angiogenesis/invasion. Here, we demonstrate that v-FLIP/K13 promotes tumorigenic effects via the induction of host protein COX-2 and its inflammatory metabolite PGE2 in an NF-κB-dependent manner. In addition to our previous studies demonstrating COX-2/PGE2's role in transcriptional regulation of KSHV latency promoter and latent gene expression, the current study adds to the complexity that though LANA-1 (latency associated nuclear antigen) is utilizing COX-2/PGE2 as critical factors for its transcriptional regulation, it is the v-FLIP/K13 gene in the KSHV latency cluster that maintains continuous COX-2/PGE2 levels in the infected cells. We demonstrate that COX-2 inhibition, via its chemical inhibitors (NS-398 or celecoxib), reduced v-FLIP/K13-mediated NF-κB induction, and extracellular matrix (ECM) interaction-mediated signaling, mitochondrial antioxidant enzyme manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) levels, and subsequently downregulated detachment-induced apoptosis (anoikis) resistance. vFLIP expression mediated the secretion of cytokines, and spindle cell differentiation activated the phosphorylation of p38, RSK, FAK, Src, Akt and Rac1-GTPase. The COX-2 inhibition in v-FLIP/K13-HMVECs reduced inflammation and invasion/metastasis-related genes, along with reduced anchorage-independent colony formation via modulating 'extrinsic' as well as 'intrinsic' cell death pathways. COX-2 blockade in v-FLIP/K13-HMVEC cells drastically augmented cell death induced by removal of essential growth/survival factors secreted in the microenvironment. Transformed cells obtained from anchorage-independent colonies of COX-2 inhibitor-treated v-FLIP/K13-HMVEC cells expressed lower levels of endothelial-mesenchymal transition genes such as slug, snail and twist, and higher expression of the tumor-suppressor gene, E-cadherin. Taken together, our study provides strong evidences that FDA-approved COX-2 inhibitors have great potential in blocking tumorigenic events linked to KSHV's oncogenic protein v-FLIP/K13.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Oncogenesis  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Sharma-Walia N; Patel K; Chandran K; Marginean A; Bottero V; Kerur N; Paul AG
  • Start Page

  • e5
  • Volume

  • 1
  • Issue

  • 4