Kaposi's sarcoma (KS)-associated herpesvirus or human herpesvirus 8 (KSHV/HHV8) is the likely cause of KS and primary effusion lymphomas or body cavity-based lymphomas (BCBLs). A latency-associated nuclear immunofluorescence antigen (LANA) (D. H. Kedes, E. Operskalski, M. Busch, R. Kohn, J. Flood, and D. Ganem, Nat. Med. 2:918-924, 1996; S. J. Gao, L. Kingsley, M. Li, W. Zheng, C. Parravicini, J. Ziegler, R. Newton, C. R. Rinaldo, A. Saah, J. Phair, R. Detels, Y. Chang, and P. S. Moore, Nat. Med. 2:925-928, 1996) and a 222- to 234-kDa nuclear protein (LNA) (S. J. Gao, L. Kingsley, D. R. Hoover, T. J. Spira, C. R. Rinaldo, A. Saah, J. Phair, R. Detels, P. Parry, Y. Chang, and P. S. Moore, N. Engl. J. Med. 335:233-241, 1996) have previously been described in BCBL cell lines by immunofluorescence and Western blotting techniques, respectively. To identify the viral gene(s) encoding this antigen(s) we screened a cDNA library from HBL-6 cells, a B-cell lymphoma cell line persistently infected with KSHV/HHV8, with KS patient sera. One set of positive clones contained the 3' end of orf73, as well as the complete orf72 and orfK13, and another set contained the 5' end of orf73. Comparison of cDNA sequences with the KSHV/HHV8 genomic sequence revealed a splice event, occurring upstream of orf73. Immunoaffinity purified antibodies to a recombinant carboxy-terminal fragment of the orf73-encoded protein showed the characteristic speckled nuclear immunofluorescence pattern of LANA and reacted with the 222- to 234-kDa LNA on Western blots. Expression of full-length orf73 in bacteria and COS7 cells reproduced the LNA banding pattern. Immunohistochemistry on cases of nodular KS revealed that orf73/LNA is expressed in the nucleus of KS spindle cells. These findings demonstrate that orf73 encodes the 222- to 234-kDa LNA, is a component of LANA, and is expressed in KS tumor cells.