In the present study sequence variations at the C terminus of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA-1), EBV-encoded latent membrane protein 1 (LMP-1), and EBNA-2 and EBNA-3C genes were investigated in 64 cases of EBV-positive AIDS-related diffuse large cell lymphoma (AIDS-DLCL), both systemic (12) and localized primarily to the central nervous system (52), and in 12 cases of EBV-positive AIDS-related Burkitt's lymphoma (AIDS-BL). Sequence analysis of the EBNA-1 C-terminal region led to the distinction of two major unrelated EBV strains, termed strain P (prototype) and strain V (variant), and their related subtypes, namely P-ala, P-thr, V-leu, V-val, and V-pro. Analysis of the LMP-1 gene was performed to assess the frequency of the C-terminus deletion variant, whereas analysis of EBNA-2 and EBNA-3C genes led to the identification of the distribution of the EBV type 1 and type 2 strains. The frequency of EBNA-1 subtypes was assessed in 49 cases of AIDS-NHL, including 37 cases of AIDS-DLCL and 12 cases of AIDS-BL. The P strain was detected in 45 of 49 cases (91.8%) whereas the V strain was found in 4 of 49 samples (8.1%). A significant difference in the distribution of the P and V strains was found between AIDS-DLCL and AIDS-BL (p <0.01), because of the exclusive infection by the P strain of the AIDS-DLCL samples analyzed. The frequency of LMP-1 deletion variants and of EBV type 1 and type 2 strains in AIDS-DLCL overlapped with that of the general population, and no correlation was found with the evaluated clinicoepidemiological data of patients, that is, disease site, tumor histology, CD4+ cell counts, and HIV transmission route. In conclusion, we found that the distribution of the EBV genotype in all of the AIDS-NHL samples analyzed is similar to the viral representation found in control individuals of both immunocompetent and immunocompromised populations.
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