The human gammaherpesviruses, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Kaposi’s sarcoma–associated herpesvirus (KSHV), are both associated with tumors. Standard antiviral therapies are ineffective at treating these tumors. A serine/threonine kinase important for viral replication is conserved across the herpesviruses. Expression of the KSHV protein kinase in transgenic mice under the control of a ubiquitin promoter was associated with B cell lymphoproliferative disease and lymphoma. If the viral protein kinase is important in the pathogenesis of KSHV lymphoproliferative disease or lymphoma, the kinase may present a very good target for pharmacologic therapies.
Richard F. Ambinder