Nasal NK/T cell lymphomas (NKTCL) are a subset of aggressive Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. The role of EBV in pathogenesis of NKTCL is not clear. Intriguingly, EBV encodes more than 40 microRNAs (miRNA) that are differentially expressed and largely conserved in lymphocryptoviruses. While miRNAs play a critical role in the pathogenesis of cancer, especially lymphomas, the expression and function of EBV transcribed miRNAs in NKTCL are not known. To examine the role of EBV miRNAs in NKTCL, we used microarray profiling and qRT-PCR to identify and validate expression of viral miRNAs in SNK6 and SNT16 cells, which are two independently derived NKTCL cell lines that maintain the type II EBV latency program. All EBV BART miRNAs except BHRF-derived miRNAs were expressed and some of these miRNAs are expressed at higher levels than in nasopharyngeal carcinomas. Modulating the expression of BART9 with antisense RNAs consistently reduced SNK6 and SNT16 proliferation, while antisense RNAs to BARTs-7 and -17-5p affected proliferation only in SNK6 cells. Furthermore, the EBV LMP-1 oncoprotein and transcript levels were repressed when an inhibitor of BART9 miRNA was transfected into SNK6 cells, and overexpression of BART9 miRNA increased LMP-1 protein and mRNA expression. Our data indicate that BART9 is involved in NKTCL proliferation, and one of its mechanisms of action appears to be regulating LMP-1 levels. Our findings may have direct application for improving NKTCL diagnosis and for developing possible novel treatment approaches for this tumor, for which current chemotherapeutic drugs have limited effectiveness.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous human herpesvirus linked to a number of B cell cancers and lymphoproliferative disorders. During latent infection, EBV expresses 25 viral pre-microRNAs (miRNAs) and induces the expression of specific host miRNAs, such as miR-155 and miR-21, which potentially play a role in viral oncogenesis. To date, only a limited number of EBV miRNA targets have been identified; thus, the role of EBV miRNAs in viral pathogenesis and/or lymphomagenesis is not well defined. Here, we used photoactivatable ribonucleoside-enhanced crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (PAR-CLIP) combined with deep sequencing and computational analysis to comprehensively examine the viral and cellular miRNA targetome in EBV strain B95-8-infected lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). We identified 7,827 miRNA-interaction sites in 3,492 cellular 3′UTRs. 531 of these sites contained seed matches to viral miRNAs. 24 PAR-CLIP-identified miRNA:3′UTR interactions were confirmed by reporter assays. Our results reveal that EBV miRNAs predominantly target cellular transcripts during latent infection, thereby manipulating the host environment. Furthermore, targets of EBV miRNAs are involved in multiple cellular processes that are directly relevant to viral infection, including innate immunity, cell survival, and cell proliferation. Finally, we present evidence that myc-regulated host miRNAs from the miR-17/92 cluster can regulate latent viral gene expression. This comprehensive survey of the miRNA targetome in EBV-infected B cells represents a key step towards defining the functions of EBV-encoded miRNAs, and potentially, identifying novel therapeutic targets for EBV-associated malignancies.
Over 90% of adults worldwide are infected with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). While EBV infection is normally controlled by a healthy immune system, in immuno-compromised individuals, EBV can cause serious disease and/or cancer. During infection, EBV expresses viral microRNAs (miRNAs) and induces the expression of specific cellular miRNAs. In general, miRNAs inhibit target gene expression by binding to complementary regions on target messenger RNAs (mRNA). While cellular miRNAs regulate important biological processes such as cell growth and differentiation, and many miRNAs have been linked to cancer progression, the functions of EBV miRNAs are largely unknown. To identify targets of EBV miRNAs and cellular miRNAs in EBV-infected cells, we used a high-throughput method based on next-generation sequencing technology to give a global picture of miRNA-regulated gene expression. Our analysis showed that over 500 mRNAs can be regulated by viral miRNAs, many of which are directly relevant to EBV infection. This study provides a comprehensive survey of viral and cellular miRNA targets in B cells, which is a positive step towards identifying novel therapeutic targets for EBV-associated cancers.
In the present study, we established an in vitro system representing the Burkitt’s lymphoma (BL)-type Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection which is characterized by expression of EBV-determined nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA-1) and absence of EBNA-2 and latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) expression. EBV-negative cell clones isolated from the EBV-positive BL line Akata were infected with an EBV recombinant carrying a selectable marker, and the following selection culture easily yielded EBV-infected clones. EBV-reinfected clones showed BL-type EBV expression and restored the capacity for growth on soft agar and tumorigenicity in SCID mice that were originally retained in parental EBV-positive Akata cells and lost in EBV-negative subclones. Moreover, it was found that EBV-positive cells were more resistant to apoptosis than were EBV-negative cells. EBV-infected cells expressed the bcl-2 protein, through which cells might become resistant to apoptosis, at a higher level than did uninfected cells. This is the first report that BL-type EBV infection confers apoptosis resistance even in the absence of expression of LMP1 and BHRF1, both of which are known to have an antiapoptotic function. Surprisingly, transfection of the EBNA-1 gene into EBV-negative Akata clones could not restore malignant phenotypes and apoptosis resistance, thus suggesting that EBNA-1 alone was not sufficient for conferring them. Our results suggest that the persistence of EBV in BL cells is required for the cells to be more malignant and apoptosis resistant, which underlines the oncogenic role of EBV in BL genesis.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a herpesvirus associated with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), gastric carcinoma (GC), and other malignancies. EBV is the first human virus found to express microRNAs (miRNAs), the functions of which remain largely unknown. We report on the regulation of a cellular protein named p53 up-regulated modulator of apoptosis (PUMA) by an EBV miRNA known as miR-BART5, which is abundantly expressed in NPC and EBV-GC cells. Modulation of PUMA expression by miR-BART5 and anti–miR-BART5 oligonucleotide was demonstrated in EBV-positive cells. In addition, PUMA was found to be significantly underexpressed in ∼60% of human NPC tissues. Although expression of miR-BART5 rendered NPC and EBV-GC cells less sensitive to proapoptotic agents, apoptosis can be triggered by depleting miR-BART5 or inducing the expression of PUMA. Collectively, our findings suggest that EBV encodes an miRNA to facilitate the establishment of latent infection by promoting host cell survival.
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) genes expressed in B lymphocytes immortalized in vitro or in Burkitt's lymphoma (BL) cells infected in vivo have been characterized previously; however, the viral products which are essential for immortalization or for establishment of EBV latency are still not known. To approach this question, we compared the kinetics of expression of EBV nuclear antigens and the two EBV-encoded small RNAs, EBER1 and EBER2, after infection of primary B cells or EBV genome-negative BL cells with either an immortalizing EBV strain (B95-8) or the nonimmortalizing deletion mutant (HR-1). Following infection of primary cells with B95-8 virus, EBV nuclear antigen (EBNA)-2 was expressed first, followed by EBNA-1, -3, and -4 (also called leader protein [LP]) and the two small RNAs. Infection of EBV genome-negative BL cells with the same strain of virus resulted in a similar pattern of gene expression, except that the EBNAs appeared together and more rapidly. EBERs were not apparent in one BL cell line converted by B95-8. The only products detected after infection of primary B lymphocytes with the HR-1 deletion mutant were the EBNA-4 (LP) family and trace amounts of EBER1. Although HR-1 could express neither EBNA-1, EBNA-3, nor EBER2 in primary cells, all these products were expressed rapidly after HR-1 infection of EBV genome-negative BL cell lines. The results indicate that the mutation in HR-1 virus affects immortalization not only through failure to express EBNA-2, a gene which is deleted, but also indirectly by curtailing expression of several other EBV genes whose coding regions are intact in the HR-1 virus and normally expressed during latency. The pattern of latent EBV gene expression after HR-1 infection is dependent on the host cell, perhaps through products specific for the cell cycle or the state of B-cell differentiation.
Infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a strong predisposing factor in the development of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Many viral gene products including EBNA1, LMP1, and LMP2 have been implicated in NPC tumorigenesis, although the de novo control of these viral oncoproteins remains largely unclear. The recent discovery of EBV-encoded viral microRNA (miRNA) in lymphoid malignancies has prompted us to examine the NPC-associated EBV miRNA. Using large-scale cloning analysis on EBV-positive NPC cells, two novel EBV miRNA, now named miR-BART21 and miR-BART22, were identified. These two EBV-encoded miRNA are abundantly expressed in most NPC samples. We found two nucleotide variations in the primary transcript of miR-BART22, which we experimentally confirmed to augment its biogenesis in vitro and thus may underline the high and consistent expression of miR-BART22 in NPC tumors. More importantly, we determined that the EBV latent membrane protein 2A (LMP2A) is the putative target of miR-BART22. LMP2A is a potent immunogenic viral antigen that is recognized by the cytotoxic T cells; down-modulation of LMP2A expression by miR-BART22 may permit escape of EBV-infected cells from host immune surveillance. Taken together, we demonstrated that two newly identified EBV-encoded miRNA are highly expressed in NPC. Specific sequence variations on the prevalent EBV strain in our locality might contribute to the higher miR-BART22 expression level in our NPC samples. Our findings emphasize the role of miR-BART22 in modulating LMP2A expression, which may facilitate NPC carcinogenesis by evading the host immune response.
The discovery of microRNA (miR) represents a novel paradigm in RNA-based regulation of gene expression and their dysregulation has become a hallmark of many a tumor. In virally associated cancers, the host–pathogen interaction could involve alteration in miR expression. Epstein–Barr virus (EBV)-encoded EBNA2 is indispensable for the capacity of the virus to transform B cells in vitro. Here, we studied how it affects cellular miRs. Extensive miR profiling of the virus-infected and EBNA2-transfected B lymphoma cells revealed that oncomiR miR-21 is positively regulated by this viral protein. Conversely, Burkitt's lymphoma (BL) cell lines infected with EBNA2 lacking P3HR1 strain did not show any increase in miR-21. EBNA2 increased phosphorylation of AKT and this was directly correlated with increased miR-21. In contrast, miR-146a was downregulated by EBNA2 in B lymphoma cells. Low miR-146a expression correlates with an elevated level of IRAK1 and type I interferon in EBNA2 transfectants. Taken together, the present data suggest that EBNA2 might contribute to EBV-induced B-cell transformation by altering miR expression and in particular by increasing oncomiR-like miR-21 and by affecting the antiviral responses of the innate immune system through downregulation of its key regulator miR-146a.
EBV; EBNA2; DLBCL; microRNA; miR-21; miR-146a
Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous human γ-herpes virus infecting more than 90% of the population worldwide. EBV is associated with certain malignancies (e.g. Burkitt lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma). Recent studies have raised the possibility that EBV may also be involved in the pathogenesis of breast carcinoma, the most common carcinoma of females. If substantiated, this finding would have major implications regarding prevention and therapy of the disease. The studies published so far have employed diverse methods, however, and the results have been controversial.
Using the EBV DNA PCR, EBV DNA in situ hybridisation and in situ hybridisation for the detection of the EBV-encoded RNAs, and using immunohistochemistry for the demonstration of the EBV-encoded nuclear antigen 1, we have studied a series of 59 invasive breast carcinomas for evidence of EBV infection.
EBV-encoded RNA-specific in situ hybridisation and EBV-encoded nuclear antigen 1 immunohistochemistry were negative in all cases. Using the PCR, EBV DNA was detected in four out of 59 cases. These cases were further studied by EBV DNA in situ hybridisation, showing an absence of viral DNA from the tumour cells.
These results indicate that breast carcinoma is not an EBV-associated tumour.
breast carcinoma; Epstein–Barr virus; immunohistology; in situ hybridisation
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with lymphoid and epithelial cancers. Initial EBV infection alters lymphocyte gene expression, inducing cellular proliferation and differentiation as the virus transitions through consecutive latency transcription programs. Cellular microRNAs (miRNAs) are important regulators of signaling pathways and are implicated in carcinogenesis. The extent to which EBV exploits cellular miRNAs is unknown. Using micro-array analysis and quantitative PCR, we demonstrate differential expression of cellular miRNAs in type III versus type I EBV latency including elevated expression of miR-21, miR-23a, miR-24, miR-27a, miR-34a, miR-146a and b, and miR-155. In contrast, miR-28 expression was found to be lower in type III latency. The EBV-mediated regulation of cellular miRNAs may contribute to EBV signaling and associated cancers.
Epstein-Barr virus; EBV; miRNA; microrna; latency; miR-21; miR-23a cluster; miR-23a; miR-24; miR-27a; miR-28; miR-34a; miR-146; miR-155
Virus-encoded microRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to regulate a variety of biological processes involved in viral infection and viral-associated pathogenesis. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a herpesvirus implicated in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and other human malignancies. EBV-encoded miRNAs were among the first group of viral miRNAs identified. To understand the roles of EBV miRNAs in the pathogenesis of NPC, we utilized deep sequencing technology to characterize the EBV miRNA transcriptome in clinical NPC tissues. We obtained more than 110,000 sequence reads in NPC samples and identified 44 EBV BART miRNAs, including four new mature miRNAs derived from previously identified BART miRNA precursor hairpins. Further analysis revealed extensive sequence variations (isomiRs) of EBV miRNAs, including terminal isomiRs at both the 5′ and 3′ ends and nucleotide variants. Analysis of EBV genomic sequences indicated that the majority of EBV miRNA nucleotide variants resulted from post-transcriptional modifications. Read counts of individual EBV miRNA in NPC tissue spanned from a few reads to approximately 18,000 reads, confirming the wide expression range of EBV miRNAs. Several EBV miRNAs were expressed at levels similar to highly abundant human miRNAs. Sequence analysis revealed that most of the highly abundant EBV miRNAs share their seed sequences (nucleotides 2–7) with human miRNAs, suggesting that seed sequence content may be an important factor underlying the differential accumulation of BART miRNAs. Interestingly, many of these human miRNAs have been found to be dysregulated in human malignancies, including NPC. These observations not only provide a potential linkage between EBV miRNAs and human malignancy but also suggest a highly coordinated mechanism through which EBV miRNAs may mimic or compete with human miRNAs to affect cellular functions.
Binding of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) nuclear antigen (EBNA-1) to BamHI-C DNA was studied by affinity column chromatography followed by immunoblotting with human serum specific for EBNA-1. Two species of EBNA-1 (68 and 70 kilodaltons) were identified in nuclear extracts of the EBV-positive Burkitt's lymphoma cell line Raji and not in nuclear extracts of the EBV-negative Burkitt's lymphoma cell line BJAB. Both EBNA-1s bound specifically to the region required for EBV plasmid DNA maintenance (oriP) located in the BamHI-C fragment. Upon treatment with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate, which activates latent EBV genome in Raji cells, the 68-kilodalton EBNA-1 was uncoupled from binding to EBV oriP. Nuclear extracts from 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-treated BJAB cells also uncoupled the binding of both EBNA-1s to oriP. DNA-cellulose column chromatography identified two protein species which competed for and uncoupled the binding of EBNA-1 to oriP. The two cellular competitors we called anti-EBNA-1 proteins had molecular masses of 60 and 40 kilodaltons, respectively. They were not found in nuclear extracts of BJAB cells not activated by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with a number of different human tumors and appears to play different pathogenetic roles in each case. Thus, immunoblastic B cell lymphomas of the immunosuppressed display the full pattern of EBV latent gene expression (expressing Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen [EBNA]1, 2, 3A, 3B, 3C, and -LP, and latent membrane protein [LMP]1, 2A, and 2B), just as do B lymphoblastoid cell lines transformed by the virus in vitro. In contrast, those EBV-associated tumors with a more complex, multistep pathogenesis show more restricted patterns of viral gene expression, limited in Burkitt's lymphoma to EBNA1 only and in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) to EBNA1 and LMP1, 2A, and 2B. Recent evidence has implicated EBV in the pathogenesis of another lymphoid tumor, Hodgkin's disease (HD), where the malignant Hodgkin's and Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells are EBV genome positive in up to 50% of cases. Here we extend preliminary results on viral gene expression in HRS cells by adopting polymerase chain reaction-based and in situ hybridization assays capable of detecting specific EBV latent transcripts diagnostic of the different possible forms of EBV latency. We show that the transcriptional program of the virus in HRS cells is similar to that seen in NPC in several respects: (a) selective expression of EBNA1 mRNA from the BamHI F promoter; (b) downregulation of the BamHI C and W promoters and their associated EBNA mRNAs; (c) expression of LMP1 and, in most cases, LMP2A and 2B transcripts; and (d) expression of the "rightward-running" BamHI A transcripts once thought to be unique to NPC. This form of latency, consistently detected in EBV-positive HD irrespective of histological subtype, implies an active role for the virus in the pathogenesis of HD and also suggests that the tumor may remain sensitive to at least certain facets of the EBV-induced cytotoxic T cell response.
Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) encodes multiple microRNAs (miRNAs) from two primary transcripts, BHRF1 and the BARTs. The expression of BHRF1 miRNAs is dependent on the type of viral latency, whereas the BART miRNAs are expressed in cells during all forms of latency. It is not known how these miRNAs are otherwise regulated, though. We have used quantitative, stem-loop, real-time PCR to measure the expression of EBV’s miRNAs and found them to differ nearly 50- and 25-fold among all tested cell lines and among EBV-positive Burkitt’s lymphomas, respectively. In addition, the expression of individual BART miRNAs within a cell can differ by 50-fold or more despite the fact these miRNAs are likely transcribed together as a single primary transcript. These measurements are illuminating: they indicate that few of EBV’s miRNAs are expressed at levels comparable to those of cellular miRNAs in most cell lines and therefore likely function interdependently.
Epstein-Barr Virus; microRNAs; BamHI A rightward transcripts; stem-loop real-time PCR
In Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-transformed B lymphoblastoid and many Burkitt lymphoma cell lines, the EBV EBNA-1 protein is one of six viral nuclear antigens expressed from a common transcription unit under the control of one of two promoters, Wp or Cp. In contrast, EBNA-1 is the only EBV nuclear antigen expressed in Burkitt and other EBV-positive tumors. We previously identified a promoter of EBNA-1 transcription, designated Fp, in early-passage Mutu Burkitt tumor cells, and this promoter is also active in long-term Mutu and Akata Burkitt cell lines which maintain the exclusive expression of EBNA-1 characteristic of the tumor. However, transcription initiation within Fp reporter gene plasmids in EBV-negative cells occurs at positions 100 to 200 bases downstream of the Fp start site in the BamHI-Q restriction fragment. Here we demonstrate that transcription initiation within newly established Burkitt lymphoma cell lines is consistent with the transcription initiation we observed in reporter plasmids. Furthermore, previous observations of transcription from Fp to generate EBNA-1 transcripts can be attributed to lytic-cycle gene expression. These data, in conjunction with our previous characterization of promoter regulatory elements, define a fourth EBNA-1 promoter, Qp, that is active in latently infected Burkitt tumor cells.
Latent Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection and growth transformation of B lymphocytes is characterized by EBV nuclear and membrane protein expression (EBV nuclear antigen [EBNA] and latent membrane protein [LMP], respectively). LMP1 is known to be an oncogene in rodent fibroblasts and to induce B-lymphocyte activation and cellular adhesion molecules in the EBV-negative Burkitt's lymphoma cell line Louckes. EBNA-2 is required for EBV-induced growth transformation; it lowers rodent fibroblast serum dependence and specifically induces the B-lymphocyte activation antigen CD23 in Louckes cells. These initial observations are now extended through an expanded study of EBNA- and LMP1-induced phenotypic effects in a different EBV-negative B-lymphoma cell line, BJAB. LMP1 effects were also evaluated in the EBV-negative B-lymphoma cell line BL41 and the EBV-positive Burkitt's lymphoma cell line, Daudi (Daudi is deleted for EBNA-2 and does not express LMP). Previously described EBNA-2- and LMP1-transfected Louckes cells were studied in parallel. EBNA-2, from EBV-1 strains but not EBV-2, induced CD23 and CD21 expression in transfected BJAB cells. In contrast, EBNA-3C induced CD21 but not CD23, while no changes were evident in vector control-, EBNA-1-, or EBNA-LP-transfected clones. EBNAs did not affect CD10, CD30, CD39, CD40, CD44, or cellular adhesion molecules. LMP1 expression in all cell lines induced growth in large clumps and expression of the cellular adhesion molecules ICAM-1, LFA-1, and LFA-3 in those cell lines which constitutively express low levels. LMP1 expression induced marked homotypic adhesion in the BJAB cell line, despite the fact that there was no significant increase in the high constitutive BJAB LFA-1 and ICAM-1 levels, suggesting that LMP1 also induces an associated functional change in these molecules. LMP1 induction of these cellular adhesion molecules was also associated with increased heterotypic adhesion to T lymphocytes. The Burkitt's lymphoma marker, CALLA (CD10), was uniformly down regulated by LMP1 in all cell lines. In contrast, LMP1 induced unique profiles of B-lymphocyte activation antigens in the various cell lines. LMP1 induced CD23 and CD39 in BJAB; CD23 in Louckes; CD39 and CD40 in BL41; and CD21, CD40, and CD44 in Daudi. In BJAB, CD23 surface and mRNA expression were markedly increased by EBNA-2 and LMP1 coexpression, compared with EBNA-2 or LMP1 alone. This cooperative effect was CD23 specific, since no such effect was observed on another marker, CD21.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is an oncogenic human Herpes virus involved in the pathogenesis of nasal NK/T-cell lymphoma. EBV encodes microRNAs (miRNAs) and induces changes in the host cellular miRNA profile. MiRNAs are short non-coding RNAs of about 19–25 nt length that regulate gene expression by post-transcriptional mechanisms and are frequently deregulated in human malignancies including cancer. The microRNA profiles of EBV-positive NK/T-cell lymphoma, non-infected T-cell lymphoma and normal thymus were established by deep sequencing of small RNA libraries. The comparison of the EBV-positive NK/T-cell vs. EBV-negative T-cell lymphoma revealed 15 up- und 16 down-regulated miRNAs. In contrast, the majority of miRNAs was repressed in the lymphomas compared to normal tissue. We also identified 10 novel miRNAs from known precursors and two so far unknown miRNAs. The sequencing results were confirmed for selected miRNAs by quantitative Real-Time PCR (qRT-PCR). We show that the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin 1 alpha (IL1A) is a target for miR-142-3p and the oncogenic BCL6 for miR-205. MiR-142-3p is down-regulated in the EBV-positive vs. EBV-negative lymphomas. MiR-205 was undetectable in EBV-negative lymphoma and strongly down-regulated in EBV-positive NK/T-cell lymphoma as compared to thymus. The targets were confirmed by reporter assays and by down-regulation of the proteins by ectopic expression of the cognate miRNAs. Taken together, our findings demonstrate the relevance of deregulated miRNAs for the post-transcriptional gene regulation in nasal NK/T-cell lymphomas.
The six latent-cycle nuclear antigens (EBNAs) of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), whose genes share 5' leader exons and two promoters (Cp and Wp), are differentially expressed by cells of the B lineage. To examine the possibility that EBNA gene expression is regulated through selective use of Cp and Wp, we monitored the activity of promoter-chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene constructs transfected into EBV-positive and EBV-negative B lymphocytes and Burkitt's lymphoma cells. Wp was a much stronger promoter than Cp in EBV genome-negative B-cell lines and was used exclusively in primary B cells. When B cells were infected with transforming EBV, Cp became the stronger promoter. This switch was not observed when B cells were infected with an immortalization-deficient virus, P3HR-1, which lacks the EBNA-2 open reading frame and expresses a mutant leader protein (EBNA-LP). Cp function was transactivated when EBV-negative or P3HR-1-infected B cells were cotransfected with Cp and a 12-kb fragment of DNA (BamHI-WWYH) that spanned the P3HR-1 deletion. This activity was mapped to the EBNA-2 gene within WWYH; constructs expressing EBNA-LP did not induce Cp function, and the deletion of 405 bp from the EBNA-2 open reading frame abolished transactivation. This research demonstrates host cell and EBNA-2 regulation of latent-cycle promoter activity in B lymphocytes, a mechanism with implications for persistence of EBV-infected lymphoid cells in vivo.
We conducted the first analysis of viral microRNAs (miRNAs) in lung cancer, with a focus on Epstein–Barr virus (EBV).
We evaluated viral miRs with a two-channel oligo-array targeting mature, anti-sense miRNAs in 290 cases. In 48 cases, we compared microarray and real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) expression for three EBV miRNAs. We tested for EBV DNA, RNA, and protein in tumour tissue from six cases with and six cases without strong qPCR-based evidence of EBV miRNAs.
The EBV miRNAs strongly differentiated between adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma using the microarray (P<0.01 for 9 out of 16 EBV miRNAs). However, microarray and qPCR measurements of BART1, BART2, and BHRF1–3 expression were not significantly correlated (P=0.53, 0.94, and 0.47, respectively). Although qPCR provided substantial evidence of EBV miRNAs in 7 out of 48 cases, only 1 of these 7 cases had detectable EBV DNA in tumour tissue. None had detectable EBV RNA or protein by histochemical stains.
In a comprehensive evaluation of EBV miRNA, DNA, RNA, and protein in lung cancer, we found little evidence of EBV in lung tumour tissue. Discrepancies between microarray- and qPCR-based strategies highlight the difficulty of validating molecular markers of disease. Our results do not support a role of EBV in lung cancer.
Epstein–Barr virus; lung cancer; microRNA; microarray; qPCR
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) persistently infects more than 90% of the human population and is etiologically linked to several B cell malignancies, including Burkitt lymphoma (BL), Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), and diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Despite its growth transforming properties, most immune-competent individuals control EBV infection throughout their lives. EBV encodes various oncogenes, and of the 6 latency-associated EBV-encoded nuclear antigens, only EBNA3B is completely dispensable for B cell transformation in vitro. Here, we report that infection with EBV lacking EBNA3B leads to aggressive, immune-evading monomorphic DLBCL-like tumors in NOD/SCID/γc–/– mice with reconstituted human immune system components. Infection with EBNA3B-knockout EBV (EBNA3BKO) induced expansion of EBV-specific T cells that failed to infiltrate the tumors. EBNA3BKO-infected B cells expanded more rapidly and secreted less T cell–chemoattractant CXCL10, reducing T cell recruitment in vitro and T cell–mediated killing in vivo. B cell lines from 2 EBV-positive human lymphomas encoding truncated EBNA3B exhibited gene expression profiles and phenotypic characteristics similar to those of tumor-derived lines from the humanized mice, including reduced CXCL10 secretion. Screening EBV-positive DLBCL, HL, and BL human samples identified additional EBNA3B mutations. Thus, EBNA3B is a virus-encoded tumor suppressor whose inactivation promotes immune evasion and virus-driven lymphomagenesis.
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is highly associated with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), and it regulates some microRNAs (miRNAs) that are involved in the development of cancer. The role of EBV in the deregulation of cellular miRNAs and how this affects the progression of NPC remain to be investigated. An analysis of the miRNA profile in an EBV-infected cell line revealed that miRNA 203 (miR-203) was downregulated. miR-203 is expressed specifically in epithelial cells. This downregulation of miR-203 was further verified and functionally analyzed. miR-203 was downregulated substantially in epithelial cells and NPC tissues that were latently infected with EBV. Downregulation of miR-203 also occurred during the early stage of EBV infection. Furthermore, the viral oncoprotein, latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1), was responsible for downregulation of miR-203. Removal of the latent EBV genome or suppression of LMP1 resulted in restoration of miR-203 expression. EBV-LMP1 mediated the downregulation of miR-203 at the primary transcript level. E2F3 and CCNG1 were identified as target genes of miR-203. Ectopic expression of miR-203 inhibited EBV-induced S-phase entry and transformation in vivo. Overexpression of the targets overcame the effects of miR-203 mimics on the cell cycle, and the expression of target genes in tumor models was inhibited by miR-203. Inhibitors of Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK) and NF-κB blocked miR-203 downregulation. These results imply that EBV promotes malignancy by downregulating cellular miR-203, which contributes to the etiology of NPC.
The efficient immortalization of primary resting human B lymphocytes by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) requires several viral genes and presumably the altered expression of an unknown number of cellular genes as well. In this paper, I show that infection of primary human B cells with EBV increased the transcript level of the proto-oncogene, c-fgr, 10-fold. This effect on the level of c-fgr transcripts in B cells was not secondary to blast formation, because levels of c-fgr RNA were also increased 10-fold in two proliferating EBV-negative Burkitt's lymphoma-derived cell lines, Ramos and BJAB, 2 days after infection with EBV. Two lines of evidence indicated that EBV nuclear antigen 2 (EBNA-2) mediates this increase in c-fgr RNA levels: acute infection of BJAB and Ramos cells by a mutant strain of EBV that lacked the EBNA-2 open reading frame, P3HR1, did not affect c-fgr RNA levels; and cell lines constitutively expressing only the EBNA-2 gene of EBV had increased levels of c-fgr RNA relative to those in the parental cell lines. Since P3HR1, a nonimmortalizing strain of EBV, failed to affect c-fgr RNA levels and since a viral gene required for B-cell immortalization was responsible for the induction of c-fgr, the data indicate a possible role of c-fgr expression in B-lymphocyte immortalization by EBV and a mechanism by which EBNA-2 contributes to the immortalizing activity of EBV.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) transforms B lymphocytes through the expression of the latent viral proteins EBNA and latent membrane protein (LMP). Recently, it has become apparent that microRNAs (miRNAs) also contribute to EBV's oncogenic properties; recombinant EBVs that lack the BHRF1 miRNA cluster display a reduced ability to transform B lymphocytes in vitro. Furthermore, infected cells evince a marked upregulation of the EBNA genes. Using recombinant viruses that lack only one member of the cluster, we now show that all three BHRF1 miRNAs contribute to B-cell transformation. Recombinants that lacked miR-BHRF1-2 or miR-BHRF1-3 displayed enhanced EBNA expression initiated at the Cp and Wp promoters. Interestingly, we find that the deletion of miR-BHRF1-2 reduced the expression level of miR-BHRF1-3 and possibly that of miR-BHRF1-1, demonstrating that the expression of one miRNA can potentiate the expression of other miRNAs located in the same cluster. Therefore, the phenotypic traits of the miR-BHRF1-2 null mutant could result partly from reduced miR-BHRF1-1 and miR-BHRF1-3 expression levels. Nevertheless, using an miR-BHRF1-1 and miR-BHRF1-3 double mutant, we could directly assess and confirm the contribution of miR-BHRF1-2 to B-cell transformation. Furthermore, we found that the potentiating effect of miR-BHRF1-2 on miR-BHRF1-3 synthesis can be reproduced with simple expression plasmids, provided that both miRNAs are processed from the same transcript. Therefore, this enhancing effect does not result from an idiosyncrasy of the EBV genome but rather reflects a general property of these miRNAs. This study highlights the advantages of arranging the BHRF1 miRNAs in clusters: it allows the synchronous and synergistic expression of genetic elements that cooperate to transform their target cells.
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) nuclear antigen 3C (EBNA-3C) regulates virus and cell genes and is essential for EBV-mediated transformation of primary B lymphocytes. EBNA-3C associates with the cellular DNA sequence-specific transcription factors RBP-Jκ and PU.1 and coactivates the EBV LMP1 promoter with EBNA-2 in BL2 and Raji cells under conditions of restrictive growth. We now find that EBNA-3C is similar to EBNA-LP in coactivating the LMP1 promoter with EBNA-2 in non-EBV-infected Burkitt lymphoma cells under conditions of maximal cell growth, whereas the EBV Cp promoter is repressed under the same conditions. EBNA-3A and EBNA-3B coactivation are at most 40% that of EBNA-3C. The RBP-Jκ binding sites of EBNA-2 and the LMP1 promoter are not required for EBNA-3C coactivation, whereas the PU.1 site in the LMP1 promoter is required for EBNA-2-mediated activation and EBNA-3C coactivation. EBNA-3C amino acids (aa) 365 to 545, including most of the previously identified repression domain (M. Bain, R. J. Watson, P. J. Farrell, and M. J. Allday, J. Virol. 70:2481–2489, 1996), are necessary and sufficient for coactivation with wild-type EBNA-2. EBNA-3C can also coactivate with the EBNA-2 acidic activating domain; this activation does not require aa 343 to 545. These data indicate that there are at least two mechanisms by which EBNA-3C coactivates the LMP1 promoter with EBNA-2. Of the proteins that interact with EBNA-3C in a yeast two-hybrid screen, only the ubiquitin-like proteins SUMO-1 and SUMO-3/hSMT3B map to aa 365 to 545, implicating these molecules in EBNA-3C coactivation. In addition, SUMO-1 associates at a high level with EBNA-3C in lymphoblasts. Promoter coactivation by EBNA-3C is likely to be important in ensuring adequate levels of LMP1, while inhibition of the EBNA-Cp promoter under the same conditions prevents uncontrolled up-regulation of EBNA expression from a positive-feedback loop.
Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) is caused by Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and frequently also harbors Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). The expression of KSHV- and EBV-encoded microRNAs (miRNAs) in PELs suggests a role for these miRNAs in latency and lymphomagenesis. Using PAR-CLIP, a technology which allows the direct and transcriptome-wide identification of miRNA targets, we delineate the target sites for all viral and cellular miRNAs expressed in PEL cell lines. The resulting dataset revealed that KSHV miRNAs directly target more than 2000 cellular mRNAs, including many involved in pathways relevant to KSHV pathogenesis. Moreover, 58% of these mRNAs are also targeted by EBV miRNAs, via distinct binding sites. In addition to a known viral analog of cellular miR-155, we show that KSHV encodes a viral miRNA that mimics cellular miR-142-3p function. In summary, this study identifies an extensive list of KSHV miRNA targets, which are likely to influence viral replication and pathogenesis.
Infection of resting primary human B cells by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) results in their transformation into indefinitely proliferating lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). LCL formation serves as a model for lymphomagenesis, and LCLs are phenotypically similar to EBV-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCLs), which represent a common AIDS-associated malignancy. B-cell infection by EBV induces the expression of several cellular microRNAs (miRNAs), most notably miR-155, which is overexpressed in many tumors and can induce B-cell lymphomas when overexpressed in animals. Here, we demonstrate that miR-155 is the most highly expressed miRNA in LCLs and that the selective inhibition of miR-155 function specifically inhibits the growth of both LCLs and the DLBCL cell line IBL-1. Cells lacking miR-155 are inefficient in progressing through S phase and spontaneously undergo apoptosis. In contrast, three other B-cell lymphoma lines, including two EBV-positive Burkitt's lymphoma cell lines, grew normally in the absence of miR-155 function. These data identify the induction of cellular miR-155 expression by EBV as critical for the growth of both laboratory-generated LCLs and naturally occurring DLBCLs and suggest that targeted inhibition of miR-155 function could represent a novel approach to the treatment of DLBCL in vivo.