Preferential Localization of the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Oncoprotein LMP-1 to Nuclei in Human T Cells: Implications for Its Role in the Development of EBV Genome-Positive T-Cell Lymphomas


American Society for Microbiology


The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded latent membrane protein-1 (LMP-1) is thought to play a role in the EBV-induced B-cell transformation and immortalization. EBV has also been implicated in certain human T-cell lymphomas; however, the phenotypic effects of the expression of this oncoprotein in T cells are not known. To learn whether LMP-1 also induces phenotypic changes in T cells, we stably expressed it in human cell lines of T and B lineages and 25 LMP-1-expressing T-cell clones and 7 B-cell clones were examined. Our results show for the first time that, in sharp contrast to B cells, LMP-1 preferentially localizes to nuclei in T cells and does not induce the phenotypic changes in these cells that it induces in B cells, does not associate with TRAF proteins, and does not arrest the cell cycle in the G2/M phase. A computer-assisted analysis revealed that LMP-1 lacks the canonical nuclear localization signal. Our results suggest that this oncoprotein may not play the same role in the lymphomagenesis of T cells as it does in B cells.

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