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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jan 30;98(3):1224-9.

An Epstein-Barr-related herpesvirus from marmoset lymphomas.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is implicated in the development of human B cell lymphomas and carcinomas. Although related oncogenic herpesviruses were believed to be endemic only in Old World primate species, we now find these viruses to be endemic in New World primates. We have isolated a transforming, EBV-related virus from spontaneous B cell lymphomas of common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus). Sequencing of two-thirds of the genome reveals considerable divergence from the genomes of EBV and Old World primate EBV-related viruses, including differences in genes important for virus-induced cell growth transformation and pathogenesis. DNA related to the C. jacchus herpesvirus is frequently detected in squirrel monkey peripheral blood lymphocytes, indicating that persistent infection with EBV-related viruses is prevalent in both New World primate families. Understanding how these more divergent EBV-related viruses achieve similar biologic outcomes in their natural host is likely to provide important insights into EBV infection, B cell growth transformation, and oncogenesis.

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