Most Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive Burkitt's lymphomas (BLs) carry a wild-type EBV genome and express EBV nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) selectively from the BamHI Q promoter (latency I). Recently we identified a distinct subset of BLs carrying both wild-type and EBNA2 gene-deleted (transformation-defective) viral genomes. The cells displayed an atypical "BamHI W promoter (Wp)-restricted" form of latency where Wp (rather than Qp) was active and EBNA1, -3A, -3B, -3C, and -LP were expressed in the absence of EBNA2 or latent membrane proteins 1 and 2. Here we present data strongly supporting the view that the EBNA2-deleted genome is transcriptionally active in these cells and the wild-type genome is silent. Single-cell cloning of three parental Wp-restricted BL lines generated clones carrying either both viral genomes or the EBNA2-deleted genome only, never clones with the wild-type genome only. All rescued clones displayed the Wp-restricted form of latency characteristic of the parent line and retained the original parent cell phenotype. Interestingly, Wp-restricted parent lines and derived clones were markedly more resistant to inducers of apoptosis than standard latency I BL lines. Furthermore, in vitro infection of EBV-negative BL lines with an EBNA2 gene-deleted virus generated EBV-positive converts with Wp-restricted latency and a similarly marked apoptosis resistance. We postulate that, in the subset of BLs displaying Wp-restricted latency, infection of a tumor progenitor cell with an EBNA2 gene-deleted virus has provided that cell with a survival advantage through broadening antigen expression to include the EBNA3 proteins.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of virology|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Aug 2005|