Journal of Undergraduate Research


viral LANA protein, cancer, KSHV, Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus


Life Sciences


Microbiology and Molecular Biology


The purpose of our experiment was to ascertain the importance of the LANA protein encoded by the Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV). LANA is believed to be essential for the survival of KSHV in human cells. KSHV causes a variety of cancers including Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), multicentric Castleman’s disease (MCD), and primary effusion lymphoma (PEL). These cancers most often appear in the immunocompromised and can be fatal. The mortality rate of PEL is ~60% after one year, KS 5-year mortality rate is ~30%, and MCD 5-year mortality rate is 35%. No known vaccine or anti-viral drug treatment is currently licensed for KSHV. We had hoped to infect humanized mice with 3 types of KSHV, including a wild-type virus, a LANA deficient virus, and a recombinant virus. Our inability to induce viral production caused us to deviate from our original protocol. We were able to transduce KSHV DNA into BAC 36 cells but we could not then infect new cells with KSHV virions. I tried multiple times with various protocols and so did Dr. Berges but we could not find a solution. As an alternative, I have been working with a graduate student studying virus interleukin-6, which is a protein created by KSHV that helps in the formation of tumors. VIL-6 is a homolog of human interleukin-6, which is a cytokine that binds to gp130 and induces inflammation, immune regulation, and B-cell proliferation. VIL-6 is thought to aid in tumor formation in KSHV related malignancies.

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