Latent membrane protein 2B regulates susceptibility to induction of lytic Epstein-Barr virus infection

Markus P. Rechsteiner, Christoph Berger, Ludwig Zauner, Jürg A. Sigrist, Matthias Weber, Richard Longnecker, Michele Bernasconi, David Nadal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The B-lymphotropic Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) encodes two isoforms of latent membrane protein 2 (LMP2), LMP2A and LMP2B, which are expressed during latency in B cells. The function of LMP2B is largely unknown, whereas LMP2A blocks B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling transduction and induction of lytic EBV infection, thereby promoting B-cell survival. Transfection experiments on LMP2B in EBV-negative B cells and the silencing of LMP2B in EBV-harboring Burkitt's lymphoma-derived Akata cells suggest that LMP2B interferes with the function of LMP2A, but the role of LMP2B in the presence of functional EBV has not been established. Here, LMP2B, LMP2A, or both were overexpressed in EBV-harboring Akata cells to study the function of LMP2B. The overexpression of LMP2B increased the magnitude of EBV switching from its latent to its lytic form upon BCR cross-linking, as indicated by a more-enhanced upregulation and expression of EBV lytic genes and significantly increased production of transforming EBV compared to Akata vector control cells or LMP2A-overexpressing cells. Moreover, LMP2B lowered the degree of BCR cross-linking required to induce lytic EBV infection. Finally, LMP2B colocalized with LMP2A as demonstrated by immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence and restored calcium mobilization upon BCR cross-linking, a signaling process inhibited by LMP2A. Thus, our findings suggest that LMP2B negatively regulates the function of LMP2A in preventing the switch from latent to lytic EBV replication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1739-1747
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Virology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


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