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Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus inhibits interleukin-4-mediated STAT6 phosphorylation to regulate apoptosis and maintain latency
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Cytokine-mediated JAK/STAT signaling controls numerous important biologic responses like immune function, cellular growth, and differentiation. Inappropriate activation of this signaling pathway is associated with a range of malignancies. Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the infectious viral agent associated with Kaposi’s sarcoma and may also contribute to B-cell disorders, which include primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) and multicentric Castleman’s disease. However, regulation of cytokine-mediated lymphocytic immune response by KSHV is not fully understood. In this report, we demonstrate that KSHV suppresses the interleukin-4 (IL-4)-stimulated immune response of B-lymphocyte activation and cell proliferation. Moreover, we show that the latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) encoded by KSHV is essential for viral blocking of IL-4-induced signaling. LANA reduces phosphorylation of the signal transducers and activators of tran- scription 6 (STAT6) on Y-641 and concomitantly its DNA binding ability. Importantly, knockdown of endog- enous STAT6 dramatically increases the sensitivity of PEL cells to low-serum stress or chemical-mediated cellular apoptosis and reactivation of KSHV from latent replication. Thus, these findings suggest that the IL-4/STAT6 signaling network is precisely controlled by KSHV for survival, maintenance of latency, and suppression of the host cytokine immune response of the virus-infected cells.