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EMBO J. 1999 Oct 15;18(20):5755-60.

Enhancement of hepatitis C virus replication by Epstein-Barr virus-encoded nuclear antigen 1.

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  • 1Department of Virology, Cancer Institute, Hokkaido University School of Medicine, N15 W7, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-8638, Japan.


Based on our recent observation that Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is detected in 37% of the tissues of hepatocellular carcinoma, and especially frequently in cases with hepatitis C virus (HCV), the effect of EBV infection on the replication of HCV was investigated. EBV-infected cell clones and their EBV-uninfected counterparts in cell lines MT-2 (a human T-lymphotropic virus type I-infected T-cell line), HepG2 (a hepatoblastoma cell line) and Akata (a Burkitt's lymphoma cell line) were compared in terms of their permissiveness for HCV replication following inoculation of HCV derived from patients who were HCV carriers. The results indicated that EBV-infected cell clones, but not their EBV-uninfected counterparts, promoted HCV replication. EBV-encoded nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1), which is invariably expressed in EBV-infected cells, supported HCV replication. Deletion analysis of the EBNA1 gene showed good correlation between transactivation activity and the activity supporting HCV replication. The present findings suggest that EBV acts as a helper virus for HCV replication.

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