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J Virol. 2008 Aug;82(15):7456-66. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00223-08. Epub 2008 May 14.

Differential gene regulation by Epstein-Barr virus type 1 and type 2 EBNA2.

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Department of Virology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, St. Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, United Kingdom.


A transfection assay with a lymphoblastoid cell line infected with Epstein-Barr virus was used to compare the abilities of type 1 and type 2 EBNA2 to sustain cell proliferation. The reduced proliferation in cells expressing type 2 EBNA2 correlated with loss of expression of some cell genes that are known to be targets of type 1 EBNA2. Microarray analysis of EBNA2 target genes identified a small number of genes that are more strongly induced by type 1 than by type 2 EBNA2, and one of these genes (CXCR7) was shown to be required for proliferation of lymphoblastoid cell lines. The Epstein-Barr virus LMP1 gene was also more strongly induced by type 1 EBNA2 than by type 2, but this effect was transient. Type 1 and type 2 EBNA2 were equally effective at arresting cell proliferation of Burkitt's lymphoma cell lines lacking Epstein-Barr virus and were also shown to cause apoptosis in these cells. The results indicate that differential gene regulation by Epstein-Barr virus type 1 and type 2 EBNA2 may be the basis for the much weaker B-cell transformation activity of type 2 Epstein-Barr virus strains compared to type 1 strains.

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