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Author Notes:

The authors would like to thank Yvonne Jones for typing this manuscript.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by grants AI15310 and CA28737 from the U. S. Public Health Service (USPHS). D. Thorley-Lawson is the recipient of a Research Career Development Award AI 00549 from the USPHS. K. Mann was supported, in part, by training grant AI07077 from the USPHS.


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Immunology
  • Research & Experimental Medicine

Early events in Epstein-Barr virus infection provide a model for B cell activation


Journal Title:

Journal of Experimental Medicine


Volume 162, Number 1


, Pages 45-59

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


We have used Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection in vitro to delineate two distinct stages in B cell activation. Previous studies have shown that the BLAST-2 (EBVCS) (EBV cell surface) activation antigen is expressed on a small fraction of B cells within 24 h of stimulation with a variety of agents, including mitogens and EBV. In this study, we have been able to isolate the BLAST-2 (EBVCS)+ cells early after activation/infection with EBV. These cells are small B cells that are actively synthesizing RNA but not DNA, and are, therefore, clearly distinct from large proliferating lymphoblasts. In addition, they contain multiple copies of the EBV genome, express the viral nuclear antigen (EBNA) and, most importantly, proceed to undergo transformation when placed back in culture. By comparison, the BLAST-2 (EBVCS)- population does not undergo transformation even though fraction of these cells are activated for RNA synthesis and express EBNA. Thus, using the EBV system, we have been able to show directly that an activated B cell first expresses the BLAST-2 (EBVCS) antigen concomitant with an increase in RNA synthesis, and then subsequently proceeds to differentiate into a proliferating lymphoblast.

Copyright information:

© The Rockefeller University Press.

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