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EMBO J. 1986 Oct;5(10):2599-607.

Restricted expression of EBV latent genes and T-lymphocyte-detected membrane antigen in Burkitt's lymphoma cells.


Certain newly established Epstein-Barr virus-containing Burkitt's lymphoma cell lines do not express the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-detected membrane antigen (LYDMA) through which EBV infection is normally controlled by the host. When the EB virus recovered from these BL lines was used to transform peripheral blood lymphocytes from seronegative donors, the lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) that arose were all LYDMA positive. This indicates that the LYDMA-negative nature of the BLs is not the result of a mutation in the resident viral genome but is rather a specific adaptation in those cells, perhaps permitting evasion of the host immune surveillance in tumour development. A comparison of the EBV gene expression in six LYDMA-negative and two LYDMA-positive BL lines and in their corresponding LCLs revealed that several of the BL lines did not express all of the viral gene products classically associated with latent transformation by EBV. Four out of eight cell lines showed restricted expression of the latent membrane protein (LMP) and/or the EB nuclear antigen, EBNA 2. A new level of EBV gene regulation therefore appears to be operating in some of the BL cell lines. The patterns of expression of EBV genes in the cell lines did not show any correlation with the known susceptibility of the lines to T cell killing.

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