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Virology. 1996 Aug 1;222(1):64-74.

Expression of the DNase encoded by the BGLF5 gene of Epstein-Barr virus in nasopharyngeal carcinoma epithelial cells.

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Laboratoire de Virologie Moléculaire, IVMC, CNRS, Faculté de Médecine Alexis Carrel, Lyon, France.


In contrast with most Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-infected healthy carriers, nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients frequently have increased serum levels of antibodies directed against EBV-DNase. These antibodies are potentially interesting serological markers for the diagnosis and the follow-up of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). In this context, it is important to determine whether malignant EBV-infected cells are the source of significant amounts of EBV-DNase contributing to antigenic stimulation. Therefore EBV-DNase expression has been investigated in several NPC specimens. A significant expression of this viral enzyme was demonstrated in both fresh biopsies and transplanted tumor lines. The DNase isolated from tumor has a molecular weight varying between 52 and 60 kDa and its activity eluted from a single-stranded DNA affinity column was specifically inhibited by both NPC sera and the rabbit polyclonal antibody against EBV-DNase. The enzyme activity was functional in the presence of 300 mM KCl, with which cellular DNases are completely inhibited. The DNase was mainly localized in epithelial tumor cells of both NPC biopsies and nude mice-derived NPC cells.

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