Epstein-Barr virus latent membrane protein 2A is a B-cell receptor mimic and essential for B-cell survival.

GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health Department of Gene Vectors, Munich, Germany.
Blood (Impact Factor: 9.78). 12/2007; 110(10):3715-21. DOI: 10.1182/blood-2007-05-090142
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Many cells latently infected with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), including certain virus-associated tumors, express latent membrane protein 2A (LMP2A), suggesting an important role for this protein in viral latency and oncogenesis. LMP2A mimics B-cell receptor signaling but can also act as a decoy receptor blocking B-cell receptor (BCR) activation. Studies of peripheral B cells have not resolved this apparent contradiction because LMP2A seems to be dispensable for EBV-induced transformation of these B cells in vitro. We show here that LMP2A is essential for growth transformation of germinal center B cells, which do not express the genuine BCR because of deleterious somatic hypermutations in their immunoglobulin genes. BCR-positive (BCR(+)) and BCR-negative (BCR(-)) B cells are readily transformed with a recombinant EBV encoding a conditional, floxed LMP2A allele, but the survival and continued proliferation of both BCR(+) and BCR(-) B cells is strictly dependent on LMP2A. These findings indicate that LMP2A has potent, distinct antiapoptotic and/or transforming characteristics and point to its role as an indispensable BCR mimic in certain B cells from which human B-cell tumors such as Hodgkin lymphoma originate.

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