The human tumor viruses Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) establish persistent infections in B cells. KSHV is linked to primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), and 90% of PELs also contain EBV. Studies on persistent KSHV infection in vivo and the role of EBV co-infection in PEL development have been hampered by the absence of small animal models. We developed mice reconstituted with human immune system components as a model for KSHV infection and find that EBV/KSHV dual infection enhanced KSHV persistence and tumorigenesis. Dual-infected cells displayed a plasma cell-like gene expression pattern similar to PELs. KSHV persisted in EBV-transformed B cells and was associated with lytic EBV gene expression, resulting in increased tumor formation. Evidence of elevated lytic EBV replication was also found in EBV/KSHV dually infected lymphoproliferative disorders in humans. Our data suggest that KSHV augments EBV-associated tumorigenesis via stimulation of lytic EBV replication.
Keywords: B cell lymphoma; EBV; Epstein-Barr virus; KSHV; Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus; humanized mouse model; lytic EBV replication; primary effusion lymphoma; virus-associated lymphoma.
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