Antimicrobial sulfonamides clear latent Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus infection and impair MDM2-p53 complex formation

Fabrizio Angius, Enrica Piras, Sabrina Uda, Clelia Madeddu, Roberto Serpe, Rachele Bigi, Wuguo Chen, Dirk P. Dittmer, Raffaello Pompei, Angela Ingianni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV), also known as human herpesvirus 8, is the causative agent of Kaposi sarcoma; this malignant angiosarcoma is usually treated with conventional antitumor agents that can control disease evolution, but do not clear the latent KSHV episome that binds to cellular DNA. Some commercial antibacterial sulfonamides were tested for the ability to suppress latent KSHV. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) and cytofluorometry assays were used for detecting both viral DNA and the latency factor LANA (latency-associated nuclear antigen) in BC3 cells, respectively. The capacity of sulfonamides to impair MDM2-p53 complex formation was detected by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method. The analysis of variance was performed according to one-way analysis of variance with Fisher as a post hoc test. Here we show that sulfonamide antibiotics are able to suppress the KSHV latent state in permanently infected BC3 lymphoma cells and interfere with the formation of the MDM2-p53 complex that KSHV seemingly needs to support latency and to trigger tumor cell transformation. These findings detected a new molecular target for the activity of sulfonamides and offer a new potential perspective for treating KSHV-induced lymphoproliferative diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)962-966
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Antibiotics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


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