Biologically relevant phenotypic changes and enhanced growth properties induced in B lymphocytes by an EBV strain derived from a histologically aggressive Hodgkin's disease

Riccardo Dolcetti, Michele Quaia, Annunziata Gloghini, Valli De Re, Paola Zancai, Roberta Cariati, Laura Babuin, Anna Maria Cilia, Silvana Rizzo, Antonino Carbone, Mauro Boiocchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) isolates show a wide genomic heterogeneity, and a key issue is whether distinct strain variations may contribute to the development and/or malignancy of EBV-related disorders. Herein, we report on the virologic and biologic characterization of an EBV strain derived from a cyto-histologically aggressive EBV-related Hodgkin's disease (HD) (case HD- 3) showing a high number of 'anaplastic' Reed-Sternberg cells expressing markedly high levels of CD30, CD40 and LMP-I. The HD-3-derived EBV showed strong in vitro immortalizing properties, as suggested by the unusually high number of spontaneous lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) obtained from the patient. Immunofluorescence and immuno-cytochemical analyses showed that HD- 3 LCLs expressed significantly higher levels of CD23, CD30, CD38, CD39, CD40 and CD71 antigens and CD54 and CD58 adhesion molecules than B95.8 LCLs. In contrast, the expression of CD11a, CD24, CD95, bcl-2, LMP-1 and EBNA-2 was similar in both groups of LCLs. These phenotypic changes are consistent with the induction of a pronounced activation status and are not dependent on the cellular background, having been closely reproduced by the same virus in LCLs from an unrelated donor (DEN-HD-3 LCLs). HD-3 LCLs were able to grow in vitro at low serum concentrations (up to 0.1%) and were significantly more clonogenic in soft agarose than B95.8 LCLs. Moreover, although no evidence of tumor formation was observed in nude mice injected with B95.8 LCLs, all 5 spontaneous LCLs of patient HD-3 and the 2 DEN-HD-3 LCLs grew in transplanted animals as lymphoproliferations composed of EBER+, LMP-1 cells. Our findings indicate that the biologic properties of the HD-3 EBV strain are significantly different from those of the B95.8 virus and may have contributed to the cytologic and histo-pathologic malignancy of this HD case. Moreover, molecular characterization of the HD-3 EBV genome identified a 63- bp deletion within the 3' end of the LMP-1 gene as a likely significant change that may be responsible, at least in part, for the biologically relevant phenotypic modifications and enhanced in vitro and in vivo growth potential induced in B lymphocytes by this virus strain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-249
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Volume80
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 18 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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