The role of Epstein-Barr virus-encoded small RNAs (EBERs) in oncogenesis.Rev Med Virol 2002 Sep-Oct; 12(5):321-6RM
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded RNAs (EBERs) are the most abundant viral transcripts in latently EBV-infected cells. Recently, we found that EBERs play a key role in the maintenance of malignant phenotypes of Burkitt's lymphoma (BL) cells. They confer clonability in soft agarose, tumorigenicity in immunodeficient mice, resistance to apoptosis and induction of interleukin (IL)-10, which acts as an autocrine growth factor of BL cells. Furthermore, we demonstrated that EBERs confer resistance to interferon (IFN)-alpha-induced apoptosis by inhibition of double-stranded (ds) RNA-activated protein kinase (PKR), which is the key mediator of the antiviral effect of IFN-alpha. These studies provide a new notion that RNA molecules contribute to oncogenesis.