Epstein-Barr virus contributes to the malignant phenotype and to apoptosis resistance in Burkitt's lymphoma cell line Akata.J Virol 1998; 72(11):9150-6JV
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.