Multiple Epstein-Barr virus strains in patients with infectious mononucleosis: Comparison of ex vivo samples with in vitro isolates by use of heteroduplex tracking assays

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • RH Edwards
  • D Sitki-Green
  • Deborah Croom-Carter
  • S Roy
  • QY Yao
  • N Raab-Traub

Colleges, School and Institutes


Recent work using a heteroduplex tracking assay (HTA) to identify resident viral sequences has suggested that patients with infectious mononucleosis (IM) who are undergoing primary Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection frequently harbor different EBV strains. Here, we examine samples from patients with IM by use of a new Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 2 HTA alongside the established latent membrane protein 1 HTA. Coresident allelic sequences were detected in ex vivo blood and throat wash samples from 13 of 14 patients with IM; most patients carried 2 or more type 1 strains, 1 patient carried 2 type 2 strains, and 1 patient carried both virus types. In contrast, coresident strains were detected in only 2 of 14 patients by in vitro B cell transformation, despite screening >20 isolates/patient. We infer that coacquisition of multiple strains is common in patients with IM, although only 1 strain tends to be rescued in vitro; whether nonrescued strains are present in low abundance or are transformation defective remains to be determined.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-297
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2006