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Virology. 1996 Sep 1;223(1):29-40.

Cytostatic effect of Epstein-Barr virus latent membrane protein-1 analyzed using tetracycline-regulated expression in B cell lines.

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Department of Medicine, University of Wales College of Medicine, Heath Park, Cardiff, United Kingdom.


Tetracycline-regulated vectors were used to obtain inducible expression in stable transfected B cell lines of two Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) latent genes, LMP1 and EBNA2. The transfected genes were tightly repressed by low, nontoxic concentrations of tetracycline (< or = 1 microgram/ml) and, following removal of tetracycline, were induced to levels comparable to or up to 3x that of EBV-transformed normal lymphoblastoid cell lines. In transfected DG75 cells, induced expression of LMP1, but not of EBNA2, led to the expected upregulation of various cell surface markers, including: CD40, CD54, CD58, and HLA class I.A novel observation was that both LMP1 and EBNA2 independently caused the downregulation of surface IgM, an effect mirrored in EBV-positive Burkitt lymphoma lines undergoing phenotypic drift during the transition from latency I to latency III in which both LMP1 and EBNA2 are upregulated. Most remarkably, induced LMP1 expression almost completely inhibited cell growth for 4 to 5 days, after which the cells recovered a limited proliferative capacity. The cytostatic effect of LMP1 was observed in all three B cell lines studied: DG75, BJAB, and Akata. Further analysis showed that induction of LMP1 coincided with a reduction in the levels of c-myc, and that the cytostatic effect was due to an accumulation of cells at the G2/M phase of the cell cycle. These data suggest a novel function for the LMP1 oncogene in controlling the proliferation of EBV-infected cells by regulating progress through G2/M phase.

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