The Epstein-Barr virus encoded LMP1 oncoprotein modulates cell adhesion via regulation of activin A/TGFβ and β1 integrin signalling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Alexandra M Davis
  • Joe P R Dudman
  • Sathuwarman Raveenthiraraj
  • Zeeshan Ahmad
  • Lee-Fah Yap


Approximately 20% of global cancer incidence is causally linked to an infectious agent. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) accounts for around 1% of all virus-associated cancers and is associated with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1), the major oncoprotein encoded by EBV, behaves as a constitutively active tumour necrosis factor (TNF) receptor activating a variety of signalling pathways, including the three classic MAPKs (ERK-MAPK, p38 MAPK and JNK/SAPK). The present study identifies novel signalling properties for this integral membrane protein via the induction and secretion of activin A and TGFβ1, which are both required for LMP1's ability to induce the expression of the extracellular matrix protein, fibronectin. However, it is evident that LMP1 is unable to activate the classic Smad-dependent TGFβ signalling pathway, but rather elicits its effects through the non-Smad arm of TGFβ signalling. In addition, there is a requirement for JNK/SAPK signalling in LMP1-mediated fibronectin induction. LMP1 also induces the expression and activation of the major fibronectin receptor, α5β1 integrin, an effect that is accompanied by increased focal adhesion formation and turnover. Taken together, these findings support the putative role for LMP1 in the pathogenesis of NPC by contributing to the metastatic potential of epithelial cells.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19533
JournalScientific Reports
Early online date19 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016