Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) expresses six nuclear antigens (EBNAs) and three integral latent membrane proteins (LMPs) in latently infected growth-transformed B lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). In contrast, EBV protein expression in Burkitt lymphoma tissue or in newly established Burkitt lymphoma cell lines is frequently restricted to the EBV genome maintenance protein, EBNA-1. EBNA-1 expression in the absence of other EBNAs and LMP-1 has been an enigma since, in LCLs, all EBNA mRNAs are processed from a single transcript. We now show that the basis for restricted EBV expression in Burkitt lymphoma cells is selective EBNA-1 mRNA transcription from a hitherto unrecognized promoter that is 50 kb closer to the EBNA-1-encoding exon than previously described EBNA-1 promoters. Infected cells with EBNA-1-restricted expression could preferentially persist in vivo in the face of EBV-immune T-cell responses, which are frequently directed against other EBNAs and are also dependent on LMP-1 expression.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - Jul 15 1991
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