Virological and molecular characterization of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus strains from Xinjiang, China.
ABSTRACT Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a highly and abnormally vascularized tumor-like lesion affecting the skin. KS-associated herpesvirus (KSHV/HHV-8) is etiologically linked to all epidemiological forms of KS. However, clinical phenotypes show considerable discrepancy, indicating the presence of virological and molecular characteristics of KSHV that influence its pathogenesis. We investigated the molecular virological features of KSHV strains from Xinjiang, where KSHV infection is endemic and there is a high incidence of KS. Phylogenetic characterization based on the VR1 region of the KSHV K1 gene for 21 classical and AIDS-KS specimens revealed the Eurasian KSHV genotypes C (n = 18) and A (n = 3), with subtypes A5, C6, and C7 identified for the first time in China. The distribution was closely associated with their unique ethnic origin and evolution. The KSHV viral load in AIDS-KS was substantially lower than in classic KS (p = 0.05), as quantified by real-time fluorescent quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The results reveal the general consistency of the biological and pathological properties of local KS with others, but characteristics associated with unique ethnicity evolution still remain.