A Polymorphism in the Epstein-Barr Virus EBER2 Noncoding RNA Drives In Vivo Expansion of Latently Infected B Cells


Wang Y., Ungerleider N., Hoffman B. A. , Kara M., Farrell P. J. , Flemington E. K. , ...More

MBIO, vol.13, no.3, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1128/mbio.00836-22
  • Journal Name: MBIO
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, MEDLINE, Pollution Abstracts, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: EBV, Epstein-Barr virus, EBER, MHV68, noncoding RNA, B lymphocytes, gammaherpesviruses, latency, lymphoma, INVITRO TRANSFORMING ACTIVITY, GERMINAL CENTER, EBV, TRANSCRIPTION, PATHOGENESIS, M81
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

The oncogenic gammaherpesviruses, including human Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), and murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV68, gamma HV68, MuHV-4), are associated with numerous malignancies, including B cell lymphomas and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. These viruses employ numerous molecular strategies to colonize the host, including the expression of noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs). As the first viral ncRNAs identified, EBV-encoded RNA 1 and 2 (EBER1 and EBER2, respectively) have been investigated extensively for decades; however, their specific in vivo functions remain largely unknown. In work here, we used chimeric MHV68 viruses in an in vivo complementation system to test whether EBV EBER2 contributes to acute and/or chronic phases of infection. Expression of EBER2 derived from EBV strain B95-8 resulted in a significant expansion of latently infected B cells in vivo, which was accompanied by a decrease in virus-infected plasma cells. EBV strains typically carry one of two variants of EBER2, which differ primarily by a 5-nucleotide core polymorphism identified initially in the EBV strain M81. Strikingly, mutation of the 5 nucleotides that define this core polymorphism resulted in the loss of the infected B cell expansion and restored plasma cell infection. This work reveals that the B95-8 variant of EBER2 promotes the expansion of the latently infected B cell pool in vivo and may do so in part through inhibition of terminal differentiation. These findings provide new insight into mechanisms by which viral ncRNAs promote in vivo colonization and further and provide further evidence of the inherent tumorigenic risks associated with gammaherpesvirus manipulation of B cell differentiation. IMPORTANCE The oncogenic gammaherpesviruses, including human Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), and murine gammaherpesvirus 68, employ numerous strategies to colonize the host, including expression of noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs). As the first viral ncRNAs ever identified, EBV-encoded RNA 1 and 2 (EBER1 and EBER2) have been investigated extensively for decades; however, their specific in vivo functions remain largely unknown. Work here reveals that an EBV EBER2 variant highly associated with B cell lymphoma promoted a significantly increased expansion of the infected B cell pool in vivo, which coincided with altered B cell differentiation. Mutation of the 5 nucleotides that define this EBER2 variant resulted in the loss of B cell expansion and normal B cell differentiation. These findings provide new insight into the mechanisms by which EBV manipulates B cells in vivo to retain infected cells in the high-risk B cell differentiation pathway where they are poised for tumorigenesis.