Activation and targeting of immunoglobulin switch recombination by activities induced by EBV infection

Ming Jie Li, Nancy Maizels

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16 Scopus citations


EBV is strongly associated with Burkitt's lymphoma, a B cell malignancy. In certain types of Burkitt's lymphoma, the c-myc gene has undergone translocation to the S regions associated with heavy chain switch recombination. It has not been established whether EBV infection induces recombination activities, which in turn promote translocation of c-myc, or whether translocation precedes viral infection and provides a growth advantage that is further enhanced by factors encoded or induced by the virus. To distinguish between these possibilities, we have compared the level of switch recombination activities in the EBV-negative lymphoma, BJAB, and in its EBV-infected derivative, BJAB-B1, in experiments that assayed recombination of an extrachromosomal switch substrate during transient transfection. We have found that BJAB-B1 and other EBV-positive B cell lines supported high levels of recombination of switch substrates, to produce junctions like those found in products of chromosomal switch recombination. In contrast, B JAB did not support comparable levels of switch substrate recombination. In EBV-positive B cell lines, the ability to support switch substrate recombination correlated with levels of LR1, a B cell-specific factor which is a transcriptional regulator of c-myc and which also appears to function in switch recombination. Our observations support the hypothesis that EBV infection can induce activities that affect switch recombination and thus contribute to the translocations of c-myc to the S regions that characterize certain classes of lymphomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6659-6664
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1999


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