Virus (EBV)


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Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)


EBV taxonomy

Viruses - dsDNA viruses, no RNA stage - Herpesvirales - Herpesviridae - Gammaherpesvirinae - Lymphocryptovirus - Human herpesvirus 4


Large family of herpesviruses is classified into 3 subfamilies (α, β and γ) based on their genome organization, growth characteristics and cell tropism. Herpesviruses have large double-stranded DNA genomes that contain many genes of host origin acquired during millions of years of co-evolution with their vertebrate hosts.

All herpesviruses have in common that, once the initial phase of virus multiplication has been resolved, they enter into a phase of lifelong persisting latency.

During latency the viral DNA circularizes and moves to the nucleus. It does not integrate, but replicates independently of the host cell. Very few viral genes are expressed during latency.

There are currently 8 herpesviruses known to infect humans. They are ubiquitous human infections and cause minimal clinical disease. Reactivation and virus shedding occurs periodically throughout life.

EBV belongs to a group of lymphoproliferative viruses, γ-herpesviruses (Gammaherpesvirinae). Two lymphotropic human γ-herpesviruses can cause lymphoproliferative disorders: Epstein-Barr virus (belongs to genus Lymphocryptovirus) and Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV, also called Human herpesvirus 8 belongs to genus Rhadinovirus).

Malignancies caused by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) arise largely due to viral genes expressed during the latent phase of infection which transforms B-lymphocytes and renders them susceptible to DNA damage. In contrast, in the case of human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8), genes expressed during lytic infection appear to be central to the oncogenic processes.

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Approximate % of EBV associations with some malignancies
Tumor % Postulated co-factors
Burkitt's lymphoma African 96%
Sporadic 10-70%
AIDS 30-40%
Malaria, c-myc deregulation, HIV
B-lymphoproliferative disease 90 Immunosuppression, HIV
Hodgkin's lymphoma 40-80 Infectious mononucleosis
T-cell lymphoma 10 Chronic Active EBV (CAEBV), immunosuppression
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma 100 Genetic and dietary factors
Gastric carcinoma of stomach 10 Not known
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EBV in medical literature (PubMed database)

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