Viral FLIP blocks Caspase-8 driven apoptosis in the gut in vivo.

TitleViral FLIP blocks Caspase-8 driven apoptosis in the gut in vivo.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsRuder B, Günther C, Stürzl M, Neurath MFriedrich, Cesarman E, Ballon G, Becker C
JournalPLoS One
Date Published2020
KeywordsAnimals, Apoptosis, CASP8 and FADD-Like Apoptosis Regulating Protein, Caspase 8, Cell Proliferation, Gene Deletion, Herpesvirus 8, Human, Humans, Intestinal Mucosa, Mice, Models, Animal, Viral Proteins

A strict cell death control in the intestinal epithelium is indispensable to maintain barrier integrity and homeostasis. In order to achieve a balance between cell proliferation and cell death, a tight regulation of Caspase-8, which is a key player in controlling apoptosis, is required. Caspase-8 activity is regulated by cellular FLIP proteins. These proteins are expressed in different isoforms (cFLIPlong and cFLIPshort) which determine cell death and survival. Interestingly, several viruses encode FLIP proteins, homologous to cFLIPshort, which are described to regulate Caspase-8 and the host cell death machinery. In the current study a mouse model was generated to show the impact of viral FLIP (vFLIP) from Kaposi's Sarcoma-associated Herpesvirus (KSHV)/ Human Herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8) on cell death regulation in the gut. Our results demonstrate that expression of vFlip in intestinal epithelial cells suppressed cFlip expression, but protected mice from lethality, tissue damage and excessive apoptotic cell death induced by genetic cFlip deletion. Finally, our model shows that vFlip expression decreases cFlip mediated Caspase-8 activation in intestinal epithelial cells. In conclusion, our data suggests that viral FLIP neutralizes and compensates for cellular FLIP, efficiently counteracting host cell death induction and facilitating further propagation in the host organism.

Alternate JournalPLoS One
PubMed ID31999759
PubMed Central IDPMC6992192
Related Faculty: 
Ethel Cesarman, M.D., Ph.D.

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