Sequence variations in the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) encoded latent membrane protein-t (LMP-1) gene have been described in a Chinese nasopharyngeal carcinoma-derived isolate (CAO), and in vital isolates from various EBV-associated tumors. It has been suggested that these genetic changes, which include loss of a Xho I restriction site (position 169425) and a C-terminal 30-base pair (bp) deletion (position 168287-168256), define EBV genotypes associated with increased tumorigenicity or with disease among particular geographic populations. To determine the frequency of LMP-1 variations in European wild-type virus isolates, we sequenced the LMP-1 promoter and gene in EBV from lymphoblastoid cell lines from healthy carriers and patients without EBV-associated disease. Sequence changes were often present, and defined at least four main groups of viral isolates, which we designate Groups A through D. The widespread prevalence of LMP-1 sequence variations, particularly the Xho I polymorphism and the 30-bp deletion, indicate that they cannot be used as simple markers for oncogenic viruses related to particular forms of EBV-associated tumor. Several of the structural changes detected occur, however, at sites where they may affect transcription, translation, or function of LMP-1. Future in vitro studies should aim to establish the functional importance of variations at these sites.
Department of Medical Oncology

Sandvej, K., Gratema, S., Munch, M., Zhou, X.-G., Bolhuis, R., Andresen, B., … Hamilton-Dutoit, S. (1997). Sequence analysis of the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) latent membrane protein -1 gene and promoter region: identification of four variants among wild-type EBV isolates. Blood, 90(1), 323–330. Retrieved from