KSHV encoded LANA upregulates Pim-1 and is a substrate for its kinase activity.
AuthorBajaj, Bharat G.
Verma, Subhash C.
Cotter, Murray A.
Woodman, Zenda L.
Robertson, Erle S.
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Pim kinases are proto-oncogenes that are upregulated in a number of B cell cancers, including Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) associated Burkitt's lymphoma. They have also been shown to be upregulated in Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV) infected primary B cells. Most cells in KSHV-associated tumors are latently infected and express only a small subset of viral genes, with KSHV latency associated nuclear antigen (LANA) being constitutively expressed. LANA regulates the transcription of a large number of cellular and viral genes. Here, we show that LANA upregulates transcription from the Pim-1 promoter (pPim-1) and map this activation to a region in the promoter located within the sequence (-681 to +37). We show that LANA expressing cells can proliferate faster and are better protected from drug induced apoptosis. Since transition through cell cycle check points and anti-apoptosis are functions associated with Pim-1, it is likely that higher Pim-1 expression in cells expressing LANA is responsible, at least in part, for this effect. A Pim-1 phosphorylation site was also identified within the amino-terminal domain of LANA. Using in vitro kinase assays, we confirmed that LANA was indeed a Pim-1 substrate, and the failure of Pim-1 to phosphorylate LANA mutated at SS205/6RR identified this site as the specific serine residues phosphorylated by Pim-1. This report provides valuable insight into yet another cellular signaling pathway subverted by KSHV LANA and suggests a contribution to KSHV related oncogenesis.