Activation of the unfolded protein response by 2-deoxy-D-glucose inhibits Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus replication and gene expression

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Nov;56(11):5794-803. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01126-12. Epub 2012 Aug 27.


Lytic replication of the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is essential for the maintenance of both the infected state and characteristic angiogenic phenotype of Kaposi's sarcoma and thus represents a desirable therapeutic target. During the peak of herpesvirus lytic replication, viral glycoproteins are mass produced in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Normally, this leads to ER stress which, through an unfolded protein response (UPR), triggers phosphorylation of the α subunit of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2α), resulting in inhibition of protein synthesis to maintain ER and cellular homeostasis. However, in order to replicate, herpesviruses have acquired the ability to prevent eIF2α phosphorylation. Here we show that clinically achievable nontoxic doses of the glucose analog 2-deoxy-d-glucose (2-DG) stimulate ER stress, thereby shutting down eIF2α and inhibiting KSHV and murine herpesvirus 68 replication and KSHV reactivation from latency. Viral cascade genes that are involved in reactivation, including the master transactivator (RTA) gene, glycoprotein B, K8.1, and angiogenesis-regulating genes are markedly decreased with 2-DG treatment. Overall, our data suggest that activation of UPR by 2-DG elicits an early antiviral response via eIF2α inactivation, which impairs protein synthesis required to drive viral replication and oncogenesis. Thus, induction of ER stress by 2-DG provides a new antiherpesviral strategy that may be applicable to other viruses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Deoxyglucose / pharmacology*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / drug effects*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / genetics
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / virology
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-2 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-2 / genetics
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-2 / metabolism
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Herpesvirus 8, Human / drug effects*
  • Herpesvirus 8, Human / physiology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Phosphorylation
  • Transcriptional Activation / drug effects
  • Unfolded Protein Response / drug effects*
  • Unfolded Protein Response / genetics
  • Viral Plaque Assay
  • Viral Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Viral Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Virus Activation / drug effects
  • Virus Latency / drug effects
  • Virus Replication / drug effects


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-2
  • Viral Proteins
  • Deoxyglucose