Inoculation of cottontop tamarins with a large dose of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) leads to the induction of multiple EBV genome-positive lymphomas. These tumors have been characterized as oligoclonal or monoclonal large-cell malignant lymphomas that closely resemble the EBV genome-positive B-cell lymphomas that arise in human allograft recipients. The expression of latent and lytic EBV-encoded proteins was investigated in these virus-induced tamarin lymphomas and in derived cell lines. The tamarin tumors were found to express EBV nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA 1), EBNA 2, EBNA leader protein, and the latent membrane protein (LMP) as determined both by immunohistochemical staining and by immunoblotting. However, within the limits of the immunoblotting assays, no expression of the EBNA 3a protein family could be detected. Assays for lytic-cycle proteins by using both polyclonal human sera and monoclonal antibodies against viral capsid antigen, early antigen, and membrane antigen (gp340/220) showed minimal, if any, expression of these antigens in the lymphoma biopsies. In contrast, the cell lines derived from these lymphomas, even in early passage, expressed abundant levels of the lytic-cycle antigens and also expressed the EBNA 3a protein as well as EBNA 1, EBNA 2, EBNA leader protein, and LMP. This finding suggests that the virus-lymphoma cell interaction, in particular the switch to lytic cycle, is subject to some form of host control in vivo. The expression of EBNA 2 and LMP in these tamarin lymphomas strengthens their resemblance to posttransplant lymphomas in humans, since these human tumors are also EBNA 2 and LMP positive (L. S. Young, C. Alfieri, K. Hennessy, H. Evans, C. O'Hara, K. Anderson, A. Rickinson, E. Kieff, and J. I. Cohen, submitted for publication). Since both proteins are known to be important effector molecules of virus-induced B-cell growth transformation in vitro, their expression in these lymphomas constitutes the best evidence for a direct oncogenic role for EBV in vivo.