Infection by Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is required for the development of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), a highly inflammatory angiogenic tumor of endothelial cells commonly found in untreated AIDS patients. Angiopoietin 2 (Ang-2) modulates the vasculature during inflammation and angiogenesis, but the mechanism by which KSHV regulates Ang-2 expression has not been investigated. Here, we show that KSHV infection of primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells induced the expression and release of Ang-2, which in turn was required for KSHV-induced paracrine-dependent angiogenesis in vivo. Ang-2 was strongly expressed in small vessels and spindle tumor cells in KS tumors. Mechanistically, KSHV activated the Ang-2 promoter via AP-1 and Ets1 transcriptional factors, which were mediated by ERK, JNK, and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways. Our findings demonstrate the importance of Ang-2 in KS angiogenesis and define a novel role for AP-1 and MAPK pathways in regulating angiogenesis. This study also illustrates a distinct mechanism by which a tumor virus modulates vasculature to promote tumorigenesis and exemplifies the convergence of oncogenesis and angiogenesis pathways in tumor development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science