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J Virol. 2000 Jan;74(2):735-43.

Epstein-Barr virus recombinants from BC-1 and BC-2 can immortalize human primary B lymphocytes with different levels of efficiency and in the absence of coinfection by Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0620, USA.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) are human gammaherpesviruses associated with numerous malignancies. Primary effusion lymphoma or body cavity-based lymphoma is a distinct clinicopathological entity that, in the majority of cases, manifests coinfection with KSHV and EBV. In previous analyses, we have characterized the EBV in the BC-1 and BC-2 cell lines as potential intertypic recombinants of the EBV types 1 and 2. In order to examine the infectious and transforming capacities of KSHV and the intertypic EBV recombinants from the BC-1 and BC-2 cell lines, viral replication was induced in these cell lines and fresh human primary B lymphocytes were infected with progeny virus. The transformed clones were analyzed by PCR and Western blotting. All analyzed clones were infected with the intertypic progeny EBV but had no detectable signal for progeny KSHV. Additionally, primary B lymphocytes incubated with viral supernatant containing KSHV alone showed an unsustained initial proliferation, but prolonged growth or immortalization of these cells in vitro was not observed. We also show that the EBV recombinants from BC-1 were less efficient than the EBV recombinants from BC-2 in the ability to maintain the transformed phenotype of the infected human B lymphocytes. From these findings, we conclude that the BC-1 and BC-2 intertypic EBV recombinants can immortalize human primary B lymphocytes, albeit at different levels of efficiency. However, the KSHV induced from BC-1 and BC-2 alone cannot transform primary B cells, nor can it coinfect EBV-positive B lymphocytes under our experimental conditions with B lymphocytes from EBV-seropositive individuals. These results are distinct from those in one previous report and suggest a possible requirement for other factors to establish coinfection with both viral agents.

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