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Int J Cancer. 1975 Jul 15;16(1):125-33.

Production by EBV infection of an EBNA-positive subline from an EBNA-negative human lymphoma cell line without detectable EBV DNA.


A continuous lymphoma cell line, BJAB, derived from the tumour of an exceptional African case of Burkitt's lymphoma, has previously been described. Unlike 97% of African BL cases studied, neither the original tumour cells nor the cell line contained detectable amounts of EBV (Epstein-Barr virus) DNA, nor did they express the EBV-determined nuclear antigen EBNA. The cells of the established line had the characteristics of B-type lymphocytes and they carried receptors for EBV. EBNA was induced in the majority of BJAB cells after EBV infection. Usually the cells died within 10 days of infection, but it was possible to establish a permanent EBNA-positive variant (GC-BJAB) of BJAB. The patient from whose tumour the original BJAB line was established was seropositive for EBV antigens, indicating previous exposure to and continuing presence of the virus; yet the tumour had not become infected by EBV. This evidence shows that EBV is not readily "picked up" by the lymphoma.

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