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J Virol. 2019 Jun 14;93(13). pii: e00273-19. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00273-19. Print 2019 Jul 1.

Interplay between the Epigenetic Enzyme Lysine (K)-Specific Demethylase 2B and Epstein-Barr Virus Infection.

Author information

International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization, Lyon, France.
CIRI, Centre International de Recherche en Infectiologie (Oncogenic Herpesviruses Team), Université de Lyon, Lyon, France.
INSERM, U1111, CNRS, UMR5308, ENS de Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Lyon, France.
Lyon Cancer Research Center (CRCL), INSERM U1052, Centre Léon Bérard, Lyon, France.
Tumor Immunology Unit, Division of Immunology, Transplantation and Infectious Diseases, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.
Department of Medical Biotechnology, Section of Pathology, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.
CIRI, Centre International de Recherche en Infectiologie (Oncogenic Herpesviruses Team), Université de Lyon, Lyon, France
International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization, Lyon, France
Contributed equally


The histone modifier lysine (K)-specific demethylase 2B (KDM2B) plays a role in the differentiation of hematopoietic cells, and its expression appears to be deregulated in certain cancers of hematological and lymphoid origins. We have previously found that the KDM2B gene is differentially methylated in cell lines derived from Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated endemic Burkitt lymphoma (eBL) compared with that in EBV-negative sporadic Burkitt lymphoma-derived cells. However, whether KDM2B plays a role in eBL development has not been previously investigated. Oncogenic viruses have been shown to hijack the host cell epigenome to complete their life cycle and to promote the transformation process by perturbing cell chromatin organization. Here, we investigated whether EBV alters KDM2B levels to enable its life cycle and promote B-cell transformation. We show that infection of B cells with EBV leads to downregulation of KDM2B levels. We also show that LMP1, one of the main EBV transforming proteins, induces increased DNMT1 recruitment to the KDM2B gene and augments its methylation. By altering KDM2B levels and performing chromatin immunoprecipitation in EBV-infected B cells, we show that KDM2B is recruited to the EBV gene promoters and inhibits their expression. Furthermore, forced KDM2B expression in immortalized B cells led to altered mRNA levels of some differentiation-related genes. Our data show that EBV deregulates KDM2B levels through an epigenetic mechanism and provide evidence for a role of KDM2B in regulating virus and host cell gene expression, warranting further investigations to assess the role of KDM2B in the process of EBV-mediated lymphomagenesis.IMPORTANCE In Africa, Epstein-Barr virus infection is associated with endemic Burkitt lymphoma, a pediatric cancer. The molecular events leading to its development are poorly understood compared with those leading to sporadic Burkitt lymphoma. In a previous study, by analyzing the DNA methylation changes in endemic compared with sporadic Burkitt lymphoma cell lines, we identified several differential methylated genomic positions in the proximity of genes with a potential role in cancer, and among them was the KDM2B gene. KDM2B encodes a histone H3 demethylase already shown to be involved in some hematological disorders. However, whether KDM2B plays a role in the development of Epstein-Barr virus-mediated lymphoma has not been investigated before. In this study, we show that Epstein-Barr virus deregulates KDM2B expression and describe the underlying mechanisms. We also reveal a role of the demethylase in controlling viral and B-cell gene expression, thus highlighting a novel interaction between the virus and the cellular epigenome.


Burkitt lymphomas; EBV; KDM2B; epigenetic

[Available on 2019-12-14]

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