Background: Kaposi’s Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV) is a gammaherpesvirus strongly linked to human cancer. The virus is also able to induce immune suppression, effect that contributes to onset/progression of the viral-associated malignancies. As KSHV may infect macrophages and these cells abundantly infiltrate Kaposi’s sarcoma lesions, in this study we investigated whether KSHV-infection could affect macrophage polarisation to promote tumorigenesis. Methods: FACS analysis was used to detect macrophage markers and PD-L1 expression. KSHV infection and the molecular pathways activated were investigated by western blot analysis and by qRT-PCR while cytokine release was assessed by Multi-analyte Kit. Results: We found that KSHV infection reduced macrophage survival and skewed their polarisation towards M2 like/TAM cells, based on the expression of CD163, on the activation of STAT3 and STAT6 pathways and the release of pro-tumorigenic cytokines such as IL-10, VEGF, IL-6 and IL-8. We also found that KSHV triggered Ire1 α-XBP1 axis activation in infected macrophages to increase the release of pro-tumorigenic cytokines and to up-regulate PD-L1 surface expression. Conclusions: The findings that KSHV infection of macrophages skews their polarisation towards M2/TAM and that activate Ire1 α-XBP1 to increase the release of pro-tumorigenic cytokines and the expression of PD-L1, suggest that manipulation of UPR could be exploited to prevent or improve the treatment of KSHV-associated malignancies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research