Unexpected patterns of Epstein-Barr virus transcription revealed by a High throughput PCR array for absolute quantification of viral mRNA

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Colleges, School and Institutes


We have validated a flexible, high-throughput and relatively inexpensive RT-QPCR array platform for absolute quantification of Epstein-Barr virus transcripts in different latent and lytic infection states. Several novel observations are reported. First, during infection of normal B cells, Wp-initiated latent gene transcripts remain far more abundant following activation of the Cp promoter than was hitherto suspected. Second, EBNA1 transcript levels are remarkably low in all forms of latency, typically ranging from 1 to 10 transcripts per cell. EBNA3A, -3B and -3C transcripts are likewise very low in Latency III, typically at levels similar to or less than EBNA1 transcripts. Thirdly, a subset of lytic gene transcripts is detectable in Burkitt lymphoma lines at low levels, including: BILF1, which has oncogenic properties, and the poorly characterized LF1, LF2 and LF3 genes. Analysis of seven African BL biopsies confirmed this transcription profile but additionally revealed significant expression of LMP2 transcripts.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-30
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Early online date15 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Epstein–Barr virus, HHV4, Herpesvirus, Viral gene expression, Transcription, Lytic replication, Latency, Burkitt lymphoma, Tumor virus