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Cells communicate with each other and the outside world through surface receptors, which need to be tightly regulated to prevent both overstimulation and receptor desensitization. Understanding the processes involved in the homeostatic control of cell surface receptors is essential, but we are not alone in trying to regulate these receptors. Viruses, as the ultimate host pathogens, have co-evolved over millions of years and have both pirated and adapted host genes to enable viral pathogenesis. K3 and K5 (also known as MIR1 and MIR2) are viral ubiquitin E3 ligases from Kaposi's Sarcoma Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV) which decrease expression of a number of cell surface receptors and have been used to interrogate cellular processes and improve our understanding of ubiquitin-mediated receptor endocytosis and degradation. In this review, we summarize what has been learned from the study of these viral genes and emphasize their role in elucidating the complexity of ubiquitin in receptor regulation.


Jessica M Boname, Paul J Lehner. What has the study of the K3 and K5 viral ubiquitin E3 ligases taught us about ubiquitin-mediated receptor regulation? Viruses. 2011 Feb;3(2):118-31

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PMID: 22049306

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