Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) is a recently discovered virus that is highly associated with Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) and AIDS-associated body cavity lymphomas, although it is also found in some normal individuals. HHV-8 is related by nucleotide sequence homology to herpesvirus saimiri (HVS), which causes T cell lymphomas in some New World monkeys, and to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a human herpesvirus linked etiologically with Burkitt's lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. We report that, like HVS but unlike EBV, HHV-8 contains a gene (ORF74) with significant sequence homology to the high-affinity IL-8 receptor, a member of the α (CXC) chemokine receptor family of transmembrane G protein-coupled receptors. We also show by reverse transcription PCR that the chemokine receptor-related HHV-8 gene is detectable in some RNA samples from KS tissue, and that its expression varies independently from that of ORF26, a minor capsid protein. The presence of a potential chemokine receptor in HHV-8 and its expression in KS tissue suggests that it may be important in the regulation of viral gene expression and may play a role in the etiology of KS and AIDS-related body cavity lymphomas.
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