Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) is associated with the development of Kaposi's sarcoma and several other human malignancies. Kaposin A protein of HHV-8 has been demonstrated as inducing tumorigenic transformation, being responsible for nuclear receptor coactivators in the transforming activity. In this study, a kaposin A-interacting septin 4 variant that contained the unique GDR at the N-terminus and AAALE at the C-terminus was identified using affinity selection of a phage display library. Co-immunoprecipitation and confocal imaging revealed in vitro binding specificity and in vivo co-localization of HHV-8 kaposin A protein to the septin 4 variant. The kaposin A-interacting septin 4 variant induced cell rounding up, activated caspase-3, and up-regulated transcriptional factor NF-κB. By contrast, kaposin A protein showed an antagonistic effect on the biological functions of the septin 4 variant. Therefore, the interaction of kaposin A protein and the septin 4 variant was suggested as playing a possible role in the development of HHV-8-associated malignancies. This study provides insights into the mechanism of the kaposin A protein pathology, in which the interactions of kaposin A protein with cellular proteins might allow alteration of fundamental cellular processes.
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