Herpesviral DNA fragments isolated from AIDS-associated Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) tissue (KSHV-DNA) share homology with two lymphotropic oncogenic gamma-herpesviruses, Epstein-Barr virus and Herpesvirus saimiri, and are present in the lesions of more than 95% of HIV and non-HIV-associated forms of KS, AIDS-related body cavity-based lymphomas, and AIDS-related multicentric Castleman's disease. Here we show that BC-1, a KSHV-DNA-positive, body cavity-based lymphoma cell line, produces infective herpesviral particles carrying a linear 270-kb genome that specifically transmits KSHV-DNA to CD19+ B cells. Transmission of KSHV-DNA is dependent upon a biologically active, replicating virus, since it is blocked by UV irradiation and foscarnet, an inhibitor of viral DNA-polymerase. This study represents the first isolation and transmission of the human herpesvirus-8/KS-associated herpesvirus.

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