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Immunity. 2004 Aug;21(2):255-66.

Expression of the cytoplasmic tail of LMP1 in mice induces hyperactivation of B lymphocytes and disordered lymphoid architecture.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Univeristy of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


The oncogenic EBV protein LMP1 mimics a dysregulated CD40 receptor in vitro. To compare CD40 and LMP1-mediated events in vivo, transgenic mice were engineered to express mouse CD40 (mCD40tg) or a protein with extracellular mCD40 and cytoplasmic LMP1 (mCD40-LMP1tg). Transgenic and CD40(-/-) mice were bred so that only the transgenic CD40 molecule is expressed in B cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells. mCD40-LMP1tg mice had normal lymphocyte subsets, and immunization elicited an antibody response featuring normal isotype switching, affinity maturation, and germinal center (GC) formation. However, unimmunized mCD40-LMP1tg mice had expanded immature and germinal center B cells, produced autoantibodies, exhibited marked splenomegaly and lymphadenopathy, and elevated serum IL-6. Thus, signaling through the LMP1 cytoplasmic tail results in amplified and abnormal mimicry of CD40 functions in vivo, indicating possible ways in which LMP1 contributes to the pathogenesis of EBV-associated human disease.

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