An Epstein-Barr virus that expresses only the first 231 LMP1 amino acids efficiently initiates primary B-lymphocyte growth transformation

Kenneth M. Kaye*, Kenneth M. Izumi, Hong Li, Eric Johannsen, David Davidson, Richard Longnecker, Elliott Kieff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


An Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) recombinant (MS231) that expresses the first 231 amino acids (aa) of LMP1 and is truncated 155 aa before the carboxyl terminus transformed resting B lymphocytes into lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) only when the infected cells were grown on fibroblast feeder cells (K. M. Kaye et al., J. Virol. 69:675-683, 1995). Higher-titer MS231 virus has now been compared to wild-type (WT) EBV recombinants for the ability to cause resting primary B-lymphocyte transformation. Unexpectedly, MS231 is as potent as WT EBV recombinants in causing infected B lymphocytes to proliferate in culture for up to 5 weeks. When more than one transforming event is initiated in a microwell, the MS231 recombinant supports efficient long-term LCL outgrowth and fibroblast feeder cells are not required. However, with limited virus input, MS231-infected cells differed in their growth from WT virus- infected cells as early as 6 weeks after infection. In contrast to WT virus- infected cells, most MS231-infected cells could not be grown into long-term LCLs. Thus, the LMP1 amino-terminal 231 aa are sufficient for initial growth transformation but the carboxyl-terminal 155 aa are necessary for efficient long-term outgrowth. Despite the absence of the carboxyl-terminal 155 aa, MS231- and WT-transformed LCLs are similar in latent EBV gene expression, in ICAM-1 and CD23 expression, and in NF-κB and c-jun N-terminal kinase activation. MS231 recombinant-infected LCLs, however, require 16- to 64-fold higher cell density than WT. infected LCLs for regrowth after limiting dilution. These data indicate that the LMP1 carboxyl-terminal 155 aa are important for growth at lower cell density and appear to reduce dependence on paracrine growth factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10525-10530
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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