Rhesus rhadinovirus (RRV) is a gamma-2 herpesvirus and is the rhesus macaque homologue of human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), also known as Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. DNA sequence analysis of RRV indicates that it shares numerous open reading frames (ORFs) with HHV-8, including one (ORF74) encoding a seven-transmembrane-spanning G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) with similarity to cellular chemokine receptors. Examination of the predicted amino acid sequence of RRV ORF74 reveals that it encodes a seven-transmembrane-spanning GPCR sharing 40.8% amino acid sequence identity with HHV-8 ORF74 and 24.1% amino acid sequence identity with rhesus macaque CXCR2. In addition, immunofluorescence studies indicate that an epitope-tagged version of RRV ORF74 is expressed on the surfaces of transfected cells, suggesting that this protein is in fact a membrane receptor. In in vitro cell culture assays, RRV ORF74 possesses transforming potential, as NIH 3T3 clones stably expressing the receptor demonstrate an increased ability to grow in soft agarose and to induce tumor formation in nude mice. Further analysis of RRV ORF74 indicates that expression of the receptor in NIH 3T3 cells causes an increased secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor and activation of the ERK1/2 (p44/42) mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway. The results of these studies suggest that RRV ORF74 encodes a GPCR with properties similar to those of its homologue in HHV-8 and that this gene may play a role in RRV-associated pathogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science