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Int J Cancer. 1997 May 2;71(3):345-9.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) gene expression in lymphoid B cells during acute infectious mononucleosis (IM) and clonality of the directly growing cell lines.

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Department of Oncology, Radiumhemmet, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


We examined the patterns of viral gene expression in acute infectious mononucleosis (IM) patients and the clonality of the directly growing EBV-carrying cell lines. Both low- and high-density EBV-carrying B cells obtained from the patients' tonsils expressed EBNA1, EBNA2 and LMP1. Like LCLs and immunoblastic B-cell lymphomas, the in vivo EBV-carrying low-density cells used only the latency III program for viral gene expression. The in vivo EBV-carrying high-density B cells used both the latency I program, as indicated by the QUK-, and the latency III program, as indicated by the YUK-EBNA1. This suggests that the lymphoid tissues contained not only proliferating immunoblasts but also cells programmed for latent viral persistence in vivo. EBV-carrying cells that grew directly into permanent cell lines in the presence of virus-neutralizing antibody and a late viral inhibitor were polyclonal, as indicated by JH rearrangement. Two of the high-density-derived lines had identical JH and TR patterns, indicating a common parental origin. Our investigation indicates that EBV-carrying cells divide and survive in a fully competent immune system during the outbreak of acute IM.

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