Induction of the Warburg effect by Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus is required for the maintenance of latently infected endothelial cells.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Volume 107, Issue 23, p.10696-701 (2010)


2010, Aerobiosis, Cell Survival, Center-Authored Paper, Clinical Research Division, Endothelial Cells, Glucose, Herpesvirus 8, Human, Lactic Acid, Oxygen Consumption, Virus Internalization


Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is the most commonly reported tumor in parts of Africa and is the most common tumor of AIDS patients world-wide. KS-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the etiologic agent of KS. Although KS tumors contain many cell types, the predominant cell is the spindle cell, a cell of endothelial origin that maintains KSHV latency. KSHV activates many cell-signaling pathways but little is known about how KSHV alters cellular metabolism during latency. The Warburg effect, a common metabolic alteration of most tumor cells, is defined by an increase in aerobic glycolysis and a decrease in oxidative phosphorylation as an energy source. The Warburg effect adapts cells to tumor environments and is necessary for the survival of tumor cells. During latent infection of endothelial cells, KSHV induces aerobic glycolysis and lactic acid production while decreasing oxygen consumption, thereby inducing the Warburg effect. Inhibitors of glycolysis selectively induce apoptosis in KSHV-infected endothelial cells but not their uninfected counterparts. Therefore, similar to cancer cells, the Warburg effect is necessary for maintaining KSHV latently infected cells. We propose that KSHV induction of the Warburg effect adapts infected cells to tumor microenvironments, aiding the seeding of KS tumors. Additionally, inhibitors of glycolysis may provide a unique treatment strategy for latent KSHV infection and ultimately KS tumors.