Hyaluronidase 2 and its intriguing role as a cell-entry receptor for oncogenic sheep retroviruses.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Seminars in cancer biology, Volume 18, Issue 4, p.296-301 (2008)


2008, Animals, Cell Transformation, Viral, Center-Authored Paper, Human Biology Division, Humans, Hyaluronoglucosaminidase, Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus, Sheep


Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus (JSRV) causes lung adenocarcinoma in sheep and goats, while the closely related enzootic nasal tumor virus (ENTV) causes nasal tumors in the same species. The envelope (Env) protein from either virus can transform fibroblasts and epithelial cells in culture, indicating that the Env proteins are responsible for tumorigenesis. However, the primary function of retroviral Env proteins is to mediate virus entry into cells by interacting with specific cell-surface receptors, suggesting that the virus receptor might be a key player in transformation as well. Thus, identification of Hyaluronidase-2 (Hyal2) as the cell-entry receptor for both JSRV and ENTV suggested a role for Hyal2 in oncogenesis. Furthermore, Hyal2 is located in a key lung cancer tumor suppressor locus on chromosome 3p21.3, suggesting that Hyal2 might have a tumor suppressor activity that was disrupted by Env thereby leading to tumorigenesis. However, recent experiments showing that expression of the JSRV or ENTV Env protein in mouse lung can induce lung tumors, even though the viral Env proteins cannot bind to or utilize mouse Hyal2 as a receptor for virus entry into cells, indicate that Hyal2 plays no role in cancer induction by these retroviruses. Hyal2 remains an enigmatic member of the hyaluronidase family given its very low hyaluronidase activity in purified form or when expressed in cultured cells, suggesting that it may have evolved to perform some other as yet unknown function.