Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Activation of PI3K/AKT and ERK MAPK signal pathways is required for the induction of lytic cycle replication of Kaposi's Sarcoma-associated herpesvirus by herpes simplex virus type 1

Di Qin123, Ninghan Feng4, Weifei Fan5, Xinting Ma3, Qin Yan3, Zhigang Lv6, Yi Zeng7, Jianzhong Zhu8 and Chun Lu123*

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine

2 Key Laboratory of Pathogen Biology of Jiangsu Province

3 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Nanjing Medical University, 140 Hanzhong Road, Nanjing 210029, PR China

4 Department of Urology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 300 Guangzhou Road, Nanjing 210029, PR China

5 Department of Blood Tumor, Jiangsu Province Official Hospital, 65 Jiangsu Road, Nanjing 210024, PR China

6 Department of Clinical Laboratory, Jiangsu Province Official Hospital, 65 Jiangsu Road, Nanjing 210024, PR China

7 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Youjiang Medical College for Nationalities, 98 Chengxiang Road, Bose 533000, PR China

8 Cancer Virology Program, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, PA 15232, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Microbiology 2011, 11:240  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-11-240

Published: 27 October 2011



Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is causally linked to several acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-related malignancies, including Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) and a subset of multicentric Castleman's disease. Regulation of viral lytic replication is critical to the initiation and progression of KS. Recently, we reported that herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) was an important cofactor that activated lytic cycle replication of KSHV. Here, we further investigated the possible signal pathways involved in HSV-1-induced reactivation of KSHV.


By transfecting a series of dominant negative mutants and protein expressing constructs and using pharmacologic inhibitors, we found that either Janus kinase 1 (JAK1)/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) or JAK1/STAT6 signaling failed to regulate HSV-1-induced KSHV replication. However, HSV-1 infection of BCBL-1 cells activated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (PKB, also called AKT) pathway and inactivated phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome ten (PTEN) and glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β). PTEN/PI3K/AKT/GSK-3β pathway was found to be involved in HSV-1-induced KSHV reactivation. Additionally, extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway also partially contributed to HSV-1-induced KSHV replication.


HSV-1 infection stimulated PI3K/AKT and ERK MAPK signaling pathways that in turn contributed to KSHV reactivation, which provided further insights into the molecular mechanism controlling KSHV lytic replication, particularly in the context of HSV-1 and KSHV co-infection.