Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Virology








The predominant types of dendritic cells (DC) in the skin and mucosa are Langerhans cells (LC) and interstitial dermal DC (iDDC). LC and iDDC process cutaneous antigens and migrate out of the skin and mucosa to the draining lymph nodes to present antigens to T and B cells. Because of the strategic location of LC and iDDC and the ability of these cells to capture and process pathogens, we hypothesized that they could be infected with human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) (Kaposi's sarcoma [KS]-associated herpesvirus) and have an important role in the development of KS. We have previously shown that HHV-8 enters monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MDDC) through DC-SIGN, resulting in nonproductive infection. Here we show that LC and iDDC generated from pluripotent cord blood CD34(+) cell precursors support productive infection with HHV-8. Anti-DC-SIGN monoclonal antibody (MAb) inhibited HHV-8 infection of iDDC, as shown by low expression levels of viral proteins and DNA. In contrast, blocking of both langerin and the receptor protein tyrosine kinase ephrin A2 was required to inhibit HHV-8 infection of LC. Infection with HHV-8 did not alter the cell surface expression of langerin on LC but downregulated the expression of DC-SIGN on iDDC, as we previously reported for MDDC. HHV-8-infected LC and iDDC had a reduced ability to stimulate allogeneic CD4(+) T cells in the mixed-lymphocyte reaction. These results indicate that HHV-8 can target both LC and iDDC for productive infection via different receptors and alter their function, supporting their potential role in HHV-8 pathogenesis and KS.IMPORTANCE Here we show that HHV-8, a DNA tumor virus that causes Kaposi's sarcoma, infects three types of dendritic cells: monocyte-derived dendritic cells, Langerhans cells, and interstitial dermal dendritic cells. We show that different receptors are used by this virus to infect these cells. DC-SIGN is a major receptor for infection of both monocyte-derived dendritic cells and interstitial dermal dendritic cells, yet the virus fully replicates only in the latter. HHV-8 uses langerin and the ephrin A2 receptor to infect Langerhans cells, which support full HHV-8 lytic replication. This infection of Langerhans cells and interstitial dermal dendritic cells results in an impaired ability to stimulate CD4(+) helper T cell responses. Taken together, our data show that HHV-8 utilizes alternate receptors to differentially infect and replicate in these tissue-resident DC and support the hypothesis that these cells play an important role in HHV-8 infection and pathogenesis.

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