Kaposi’s Sarcoma, and the role of a single receptor by Jan Mikhale Cajulao

Jan Mikhale Cajulao

SFSU | Robert Lansdon Trust

Kaposi’s Sarcoma is caused by a Herpesvirus called KSHV. KSHV encodes a viral G Protein Coupled Receptor which is similar to human receptors, however, not much is known about the signaling mechanisms of this viral receptor. My thesis aims to understand how the viral receptor’s movement within human cells is important for its function, uncovering a potential future drug target.


Kaposi’s Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV) causes Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS). There is no cure for KS or KSHV latent infection. Although KSHV primarily remains latent, the virus’ lytic proteins, such as its viral G Protein Coupled Receptor (vGPCR), have been linked to oncogenesis (cancer-causing). Although vGPCR’s downstream targets are known, exactly how vGPCR’s signaling is accomplished within host cells is not fully known, therefore missing potential therapeutic targets. The movement and localization of human GPCRs plays an important role in their signaling, however, vGPCR’s trafficking and localization have yet to be described in detail. Therefore, this study has two aims: AIM1; to examine the subcellular trafficking and localization of vGPCR, and AIM2; to determine the human proteins involved in vGPCR signaling. Confocal microscopy will determine the localization of vGPCR at various time points and conditions, while luciferase assays and western blots will determine the role of each location and various human proteins in vGPCR signaling. This study will reveal details of vGPCR signaling to inform future drug development efforts and work towards a cure for KS.


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