The Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus ORF34 protein binds to HIF-1α and causes its degradation via the proteasome pathway

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Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the causative agent for Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) and two other lymphoproliferative disorders, primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) and multicentric Castleman's disease (MCD). Kaposi's sarcoma is a highly vascular tumor, and recently both hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) and HIF-2α were detected in KS samples, indicating a role of HIFs in the KSHV life cycle. Previously, we showed that ORF34, a lytic gene of unassigned function, was activated by hypoxia and that ORF34 transcription was upregulated by both HIFs (M. Haque, D. A. Davis, V. Wang, I. Widmer, and R. Yarchoan, J Virol. 77:6761-6768, 2003). In the present study, we show that coexpression of ORF34 with HIF-1αm (degradation-resistant HIF-1α) caused substantial reduction in HIF-1α-dependent transcription, as evidenced by reporter assays. Two-way immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that ORF34 physically interacted with HIF-1αm in transient expression experiments. Deletion analysis revealed that three different ORF34 domains interacted with the amino-terminal domain of HIF-1α. Also, purified HIF-1α and ORF34 proteins interacted with each other. The observed transcriptional inhibition of HIF-1α-dependent promoters was attributed to degradation of HIF-1α after binding with ORF34, since the overall amount of wild-type HIF-1α but not the degradation-resistant one (HIF-1αm) was reduced in the presence of ORF34. Moreover, ORF34 caused degradation of HIF-1α in a dose-dependent manner. Inhibition of the ubiquitin-dependent pathway by the chemical proteasome inhibitor MG132 prevented HIF-1α degradation in the presence of ORF34. These results show that ORF34 binds to HIF-1α, leading to its degradation via the proteasome-dependent pathway.

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Journal of virology

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