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Lab Invest. 2004 Dec;84(12):1547-56.

MDM2 expression in EBV-infected nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells.

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Institute of Pathology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.


To understand whether the p53-regulated mdm2 gene expression was altered by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), the NPC-TW01 cell line was infected by EBV through IgA receptor-mediated endocytosis. The mdm2 gene was expressed only in a small fraction of the NPC cell population and could be enhanced in the EBV-infected (EBV+) cells. In the animals bearing EBV+ and EBV- NPC xenografts, the MDM2+ cells only appeared in clusters in both EBV+ and EBV- tumors with stronger expression in EBV+ cells. Cotransfection of pmdm2-Luc plus pSV40-p53 plus pCMV-LMP1 in the NPC-TW06 line that had p53 heterozygous point mutation showed stronger mdm2 promoter activity than cells cotransfected with pmdm2-Luc plus pSV40-p53, but no mdm2 promoter activity was seen in cells cotransfected with pmdm2-Luc plus pCMV-LMP1. Only the EBV-LMP1 but not the EBV-LMP2A gene could enhance p53 to upregulated mdm2 expression. Tumor cells in NPC biopsy specimens revealed similar mdm2 expression as in the animal model. It is concluded that although EBV can indirectly enhance mdm2 gene expression in tumor cells that express this gene, it cannot turn on or directly regulate mdm2 expression in cells that do not express this gene. In other words, EBV plays a role as an enhancer in NPC tumorigenesis.

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