Virology, Nebraska Center for


Date of this Version

April 2006


Published in Journal of Biological Chemistry 281:14 (April 7, 2006), pp. 9163–9169; doi:10.1074/jbc.M511884200 Copyright © 2006 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc. Used by permission.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) latency has been associated with a variety of human cancers. Latent membrane protein 1 (LMP-1) is one of the key viral proteins required for transformation of primary B cells in vitro and establishment of EBV latency. We have previously shown that LMP-1 induces the expression of several interferon (IFN)-stimulated genes and has antiviral effect (Zhang, J., Das, S. C., Kotalik, C., Pattnaik, A. K., and Zhang, L. (2004) J. Biol. Chem. 279, 46335–46342). In this report, a novel mechanism related to the antiviral effect of LMP-1 is identified. We show that EBV type III latency cells, in which LMP-1 is expressed, are primed to produce robust levels of endogenous IFNs upon infection of Sendai virus. The priming action is due to the expression of LMP-1 but not EBV nuclear antigen 2 (EBNA-2). The signaling events from the C-terminal activator regions of LMP-1 are essential to prime cells for high IFN production. LMP-1-mediated activation of NF-κB is apparently necessary and sufficient for LMP-1-mediated priming effect in DG75 cells, a human B cell line. IFN regulatory factor 7 (IRF-7) that can be activated by LMP-1 is also implicated in the priming action. Taken together, these data strongly suggest that LMP-1 may prime EBV latency cells for IFN production and that the antiviral property of LMP-1 may be an intrinsic part of EBV latency program, which may assist the establishment and/or maintenance of viral latency.

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