Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) LMP2A induces alterations in gene transcription similar to those observed in Reed-Sternberg cells of Hodgkin lymphoma.

Blood 2003 Dec 7;102(12):4166-78. Epub 2003 Aug 7.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Ward 6-231, 303 East Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with the development of a variety of malignancies, including Hodgkin lymphoma. One of the few viral transcripts expressed in EBV-positive Hodgkin/Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells of Hodgkin lymphoma is latent membrane protein 2A (LMP2A). This viral protein blocks B-cell receptor (BCR)-signaling in vitro. Furthermore, expression of LMP2A in developing B cells in vivo induces a global down-regulation of genes necessary for proper B-cell development. In this study we have analyzed gene transcription in primary B cells from LMP2A transgenic mice, LMP2A-expressing human B-cell lines, and LMP2A-positive and -negative EBV-infected lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). We demonstrate that LMP2A increases the expression of genes associated with cell cycle induction and inhibition of apoptosis, alters the expression of genes involved in DNA and RNA metabolism, and decreases the expression of B-cell-specific factors and genes associated with immunity. Furthermore, many alterations in gene expression induced by LMP2A are similar to those recently described in HRS cells of Hodgkin lymphoma and activated, proliferating germinal center centroblasts/centrocytes. These correlations suggest that LMP2A expression in EBV-infected B cells may lead to the induction and maintenance of an activated, proliferative state that could ultimately result in the development of Hodgkin lymphoma.

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http://www.bloodjournal.org/cgi/doi/10.1182/blood-2003-04-10
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2003-04-1018DOI Listing
December 2003
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