Cell Growth Transformation by Epstein Barr Virus
Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) was discovered 25 years ago during a search for an etiologic agent in human Burkitt lymphoma (BL), a remarkably unusual, geographically restricted, tumor. In vitro infection of primary B lymphocytes acutely and efficiently resulted in persistent latent infection and lymphocyte growth transformation (for a review of biological properties and for relevant references prior to 1989 see 1). The latently infected, growth transformed, lymphocytes are not only immortal in culture, but also are tumorigenic when inoculated into the brain of nude mice or into the peritoneum of SCID mice. Large virus innocula also induce rapidly fatal lymphoproliferative disease in cotton top tamarinds. In some genetically predisposed or severely immune deficient humans, EBV infection can also evolve into rapidly fatal lymphoproliferative disease.Aside from these direct effects on cell proliferation, EBV infection is also closely associated with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and African BL, tumors which occur long after primary EBV infection; even among populations with a relatively high incidence of these tumors. The uniform presence of EBV in all malignant cells of endemic BL or NPC and the molecular biologic evidence that these tumors grow from an EBV infected cell, link EBV etiologically to these late onset malignancies.
KeywordsBurkitt Lymphoma Heterologous Promoter Growth Transformation Carboxy Terminal Domain Endemic Burkitt Lymphoma
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