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Nature. 1983 Dec 1-7;306(5942):480-3.

Replication of Epstein-Barr virus in human epithelial cells infected in vitro.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a member of the herpes group of viruses and the aetiological agent of infectious mononucleosis, is usually thought of as a lymphotrophic virus with the ability to transform B lymphocytes. So the association of EBV with nasopharyngeal carcinoma is puzzling, especially given the lack of success of attempts to infect epithelial cells with EBV in culture and the apparent lack of EBV receptors on epithelial cells. Circumvention of the apparent requirement for membrane receptors by techniques of transfection, microinjection and receptor transplantation has clearly demonstrated that there is no inherent barrier to EBV replication in nonlymphoid cells, including epithelial cell types. Our ability routinely to detect EBV DNA by in situ hybridization in epithelial cells of the oropharynx from persons with acute infectious mononucleosis suggests that, in vivo, EBV regularly gains access to and replicates lytically in epithelial cells. We report here in vitro evidence for direct infection by EBV and replication of the virus in cultured normal human epithelial cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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