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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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) 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.
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.
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.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a ubiquitous B-lymphotropic herpesvirus, ectopically infects T or NK cells to cause severe diseases of unknown pathogenesis, including chronic active EBV infection (CAEBV) and EBV-associated hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (EBV-HLH). We developed xenograft models of CAEBV and EBV-HLH by transplanting patients' PBMC to immunodeficient mice of the NOD/Shi-scid/IL-2Rγnull strain. In these models, EBV-infected T, NK, or B cells proliferated systemically and reproduced histological characteristics of the two diseases. Analysis of the TCR repertoire expression revealed that identical predominant EBV-infected T-cell clones proliferated in patients and corresponding mice transplanted with their PBMC. Expression of the EBV nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1), the latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1), and LMP2, but not EBNA2, in the engrafted cells is consistent with the latency II program of EBV gene expression known in CAEBV. High levels of human cytokines, including IL-8, IFN-γ, and RANTES, were detected in the peripheral blood of the model mice, mirroring hypercytokinemia characteristic to both CAEBV and EBV-HLH. Transplantation of individual immunophenotypic subsets isolated from patients' PBMC as well as that of various combinations of these subsets revealed a critical role of CD4+ T cells in the engraftment of EBV-infected T and NK cells. In accordance with this finding, in vivo depletion of CD4+ T cells by the administration of the OKT4 antibody following transplantation of PBMC prevented the engraftment of EBV-infected T and NK cells. This is the first report of animal models of CAEBV and EBV-HLH that are expected to be useful tools in the development of novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of the diseases.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous human herpesvirus that infects more than 90% of the adult human population in the world. EBV usually infects B lymphocytes and does not produce symptoms in infected individuals, but in rare occasions it infects T or NK lymphocytes and causes severe diseases such as chronic active EBV infection (CAEBV) and EBV-associated hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (EBV-HLH). We developed mouse models of these two human diseases in which EBV-infected T or NK lymphocytes proliferate in mouse tissues and reproduce human pathologic conditions such as overproduction of small proteins called “cytokines” that produce inflammatory responses in the body. These mouse models are thought to be very useful for the elucidation of the pathogenesis of CAEBV and EBV-HLH as well as for the development of therapeutic strategies for the treatment of these diseases. Experiments with the models demonstrated that a subset of lymphocytes called CD4-positive lymphocytes are essential for the proliferation of EBV-infected T and NK cells. This result implies that removal of CD4-positive lymphocytes or suppression of their functions may be an effective strategy for the treatment of CAEBV and EBV-HLH.
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.
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.
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.
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)-negative Burkitt's lymphoma (BL) cell lines have been converted to EBV genome positivity by in vitro infection with the transforming EBV strain B95.8 and with the nontransforming mutant strain P3HR1, which has a deletion in the gene encoding the nuclear antigen EBNA2. These B95.8- and P3HR1-converted lines have been compared for their patterns of expression of EBV latent genes (i.e., those viral genes constitutively expressed in all EBV-transformed lines of normal B-cell origin) and for their recognition by EBV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), in an effort to identify which latent gene products provide target antigens for the T-cell response. B95.8-converted lines on several different EBV-negative BL-cell backgrounds all showed detectable expression of the nuclear antigens EBNA1, EBNA2, and EBNA3 and of the latent membrane protein (LMP); such converts were also clearly recognized by EBV-specific CTL preparations with restriction through selected human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I antigens on the target cell surface. The corresponding P3HR1-converted lines (lacking an EBNA2 gene) expressed EBNA1 and EBNA3 but, surprisingly, showed no detectable LMP; furthermore, these converts were not recognized by EBV-specific CTLs. Such differences in T-cell recognition were not due to any differences in expression of the relevant HLA-restricting determinants between the two types of convert, as shown by binding of specific monoclonal antibodies and by the susceptibility of both B95.8 and P3HR1 converts to allospecific CTLs directed against these same HLA molecules. The results suggest that in the normal infectious cycle, EBNA2 may be required for subsequent expression of LMP and that both EBNA2 and LMP (but not EBNA1 or EBNA3) may provide target antigens for the EBV-specific T-cell response.
Over 90% of the adult human population is chronically infected with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), an oncogenic herpesvirus. EBV primarily infects naive human B cells and persists latently in memory B cells. Most individuals experience an asymptomatic infection that is effectively controlled by the adaptive immune response. However, EBV-associated lymphomas can develop in immunocompromised individuals. These tumors typically express all nine EBV latent proteins (latency III). Latency III is also associated with the expression of three precursor microRNAs (miRNAs) located within the EBV BHRF1 gene locus. The role of these BHRF1 miRNAs was unclear until recent in vitro studies demonstrated that they cooperate to enhance virus-induced B cell transformation and decrease the antigenic load of virus-infected cells, indicating that the BHRF1 miRNA cluster may serve as a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of latency III EBV-associated malignancies. However, to date, it is not known if BHRF1 miRNAs enhance virus-induced oncogenesis and/or immune evasion of EBV in vivo. To understand the in vivo contribution of the BHRF1 miRNA cluster to EBV infection and EBV-associated tumorigenesis, we monitored EBV infection and assessed tumor formation in humanized mice exposed to wild-type virus and a viral mutant (Δ123) that lacks all three BHRF1 miRNAs. Our results demonstrate that while the BHRF1 miRNAs facilitate the development of acute systemic EBV infection, they do not enhance the overall oncogenic potential of EBV in vivo.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) genome has been detected in several human lymphoproliferative diseases, but the oncogenic function of EBV is not fully understood. We previously established EBV-positive (SP-50B) and EBV-negative (SP-53) cell lines with the t(11;14)(q13;q32) chromosome abnormality from a single patient with mantle cell lymphoma. Monoclonal EBV DNA in a circular episomal form was demonstrated in the SP-50B cells by Southern blot hybridization with the EBV-terminal fragment probe. SP-50B cells were positive for not only EBV-encoded nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA1) but also latent membrane protein-1 and EBNA2. None of the EBV-encoded proteins was expressed in SP-53 cells. The isogenic EBV-infected and EBV-free cell lines of neoplastic clones made it possible to examine a tumorigenic role of EBV. Only EBV-positive SP-50B cells possessed malignant phenotypes, such as growth ability in low serum, colony formation in soft agarose, and tumorigenicity in nude mice. On the other hand, a lymphoblastoid B-cell line established by infecting the patient's normal B lymphocytes in vitro with exogenous EBV had no tumorigenicity. These results suggested that EBV infection, if it occurred in neoplastic lymphoma cells, could play a role in acquisition of malignant phenotypes.
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous B-lymphotropic herpesvirus associated with several malignant tumors, e.g., Burkitt's lymphoma and Hodgkin's disease, and is able to efficiently immortalize primary B lymphocytes in vitro. The growth program of infected B cells is initiated and maintained by the viral transcription factor EBV nuclear antigen 2 (EBNA2), which regulates viral and cellular genes, including the proto-oncogene c-myc. In our study, patterns of protein expression in B cells with and without EBNA2 were analyzed by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. For this purpose, we used a conditional immortalization system for EBV, a B cell line (EREB2-5) that expresses an estrogen receptor-EBNA2 fusion protein. In order to discriminate downstream targets of c-Myc from c-Myc-independent EBNA2 targets, we used an EREB2-5-derived cell line, P493-6, in which c-Myc is expressed under the control of a tetracycline-regulated promoter. Of 20 identified EBNA2 target proteins, 11 were c-Myc dependent and therefore most probably associated with proliferation, and one of these proteins was a posttranslationally modified protein, i.e., hypusinylated eIF5a. Finally, to estimate the relevance of EBNA2 targets during early EBV infection, we analyzed the proteomes of primary B cells before and after infection with EBV. The protein expression pattern induced upon EBV infection was similar to that following EBNA2 activation. These findings underscore the value of EREB2-5 cells as an appropriate model system for the analysis of early events in the process of EBV-mediated B-cell immortalization.
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) 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.
In Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive Burkitt's lymphoma cell lines exhibiting the latency I form of infection (i.e., EBV nuclear antigen 1 [EBNA1] positive in the absence of other latent proteins), the EBNA1 mRNA has a unique BamHI Q/U/K splice structure and is expressed from a novel promoter, Fp, located near the BamHI FQ boundary. This contrasts with the situation in EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) exhibiting the latency III form of infection (i.e., positive for all latent proteins), in which transcription from the upstream Cp or Wp promoters is the principal source of EBNA mRNAs. We carried out cDNA amplifications with oligonucleotide primer-probe combinations to determine whether Fp is ever active in an LCL environment. The results clearly showed that some LCLs express a Q/U/K-spliced EBNA1 mRNA in addition to the expected Cp/Wp-initiated transcripts; this seemed inconsistent with the concept of Cp/Wp and Fp as mutually exclusive promoters. Here we show that Fp is indeed silent in latency III cells but is activated at an early stage following the switch from latency III into the virus lytic cycle. Four pieces of evidence support this conclusion: (i) examples of coincident Cp/Wp and Fp usage in LCLs are restricted to those lines in which a small subpopulation of cells have spontaneously entered the lytic cycle; (ii) transcripts initiating from Fp can readily be demonstrated in spontaneously productive lines by S1 nuclease protection; (iii) the presence of Fp-initiated transcripts is not affected by acyclovir blockade of the late lytic cycle; and (iv) infection of latently infected LCLs with a recombinant vaccinia virus encoding the EBV immediate-early protein BZLF1, a transcriptional transactivator which normally initiates the lytic cycle, results in the appearance of the diagnostic Q/U/K-spliced transcripts.
Epstein Barr virus (EBV) is a lymphotrophic γ-herpesvirus that infects more than 90% of the adult human population. It transforms B cells in vitro and is associated with lymphomas in vivo. In most EBV carriers the emergence of these malignancies, however, is prevented by T cell mediated immune control. Part of this control is mediated by CD8+ T cells, which mainly target a subset of viral nuclear antigens, EBNA3A, B and C, in healthy EBV carriers. In HLA-B8 positive individuals, the dominant CTL response is biased towards recognition of EBNA3A. However, spontaneously arising EBV-associated malignancies, such as Hodgkin's lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma do not express EBNA3s and instead express latent membrane protein 2 (LMP2) as well as LMP1 and EBNA1. Here we describe the new HLA-B8 restricted, LMP2 derived CD8+ T cell epitope, LMP2345-352. Although the frequency of LMP2345-352 specific CD8+ T cells is usually lower than immunodominant EBNA3A specific CD8+ T cells in fresh blood, the former can be expanded in the majority of HLA-B8+ EBV carriers after 1 week co-culture with peptide pulsed dendritic cells. We demonstrate that LMP2345-352 specific CD8+ T cells secrete IFN-γ and kill both peptide pulsed targets as well as HLA-B8 matched LCL and LMP2 expressing Hodgkin's lymphoma cells. We suggest that cytotoxic CD8+ T cell responses against LMP2 coexist with the immunodominant EBNA3 specific responses in healthy EBV carriers and help to resist EBV associated malignancies.
Coinfection with Plasmodium falciparum malaria and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a major risk factor for endemic Burkitt lymphoma (eBL), still one of the most prevalent pediatric cancers in equatorial Africa. Although malaria infection has been associated with immunosuppression, the precise mechanisms that contribute to EBV-associated lymphomagenesis remain unclear. In this study, we used polychromatic flow cytometry to characterize CD8+ T-cell subsets specific for EBV-derived lytic (BMFL1 and BRLF1) and latent (LMP1, LMP2, and EBNA3C) antigens in individuals with divergent malaria exposure. No malaria-associated differences in EBV-specific CD8+ T-cell frequencies were observed. However, based on a multidimensional analysis of CD45RO, CD27, CCR7, CD127, CD57, and PD-1 expression, we found that individuals living in regions with intense and perennial (holoendemic) malaria transmission harbored more differentiated EBV-specific CD8+ T-cell populations that contained fewer central memory cells than individuals living in regions with little or no (hypoendemic) malaria. This profile shift was most marked for EBV-specific CD8+ T-cell populations that targeted latent antigens. Importantly, malaria exposure did not skew the phenotypic properties of either cytomegalovirus (CMV)-specific CD8+ T cells or the global CD8+ memory T-cell pool. These observations define a malaria-associated aberration localized to the EBV-specific CD8+ T-cell compartment that illuminates the etiology of eBL.