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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Sep 29;95(20):11963-8.

Expression of the Epstein-Barr virus latent membrane protein 1 induces B cell lymphoma in transgenic mice.

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Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Microbiology and Immunology, and Pathology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7295, USA.


The latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) of the Epstein-Barr virus has transforming properties in rodent fibroblasts and is expressed in most of the cancers associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection including posttransplant lymphomas, Hodgkin's disease, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and AIDS-related lymphomas. In this study, three lineages of LMP1 transgenic mice were established with LMP1 expressed under the control of the Ig heavy chain promoter and enhancer. Lymphoma developed in all three lineages, and the incidence of lymphoma increased significantly with age with lymphomas developing in 42% of transgenic mice over 18 months. The expression of LMP1 was detected at high levels in the lymphoma tissues but only at trace levels in normal lymphoid tissues. Gene rearrangement of the Ig heavy chain indicated monoclonality or oligoclonality in all lymphomas, some of the lymphoid hyperplastic spleens, and some histologically normal spleens. These data reveal that LMP1, without the expression of other EBV genes, is oncogenic in vivo and indicate that LMP1 is a major contributing factor to the development of EBV-associated lymphomas.

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