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Field guide to the Epstein-Barr virus charts viral paths toward cancer
Date:8/23/2012

Researchers from The Wistar Institute and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) have teamed to publish the first annotated atlas of the Epstein-Barr virus genome, creating the most comprehensive study of how the viral genome interacts with its human host during a latent infection. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is thought to be responsible for one percent of all human cancers, establishes a latent infection in nearly 100 percent of infected adult humans.

The atlas is designed to guide researchers toward new means of creating therapies against EBV-latent infection and the cancers associated with latent EBV infection, such as B cell lymphomas, gastric carcinomas, and nasopharyngeal carcinomas. The project provides the best look yet at how EBV interacts with the genes and proteins of its host cells.A representation of the annotated EBV "epigenome," listing the protein and chemical decorations added to the EBV DNA that get passed along to new copies of the EBV virus.

As a supplement to the EBV genomethe characterization of the virus's genesthe atlas describes the epigenomeall the protein and chemical decorations added to the EBV DNA that get passed along to new copies of the EBV virusand the transcriptomethe catalog of all the RNA transcripts created from EBV DNA, which are either coded into protein or serve to regulate DNA directly. The researchers discovered numerous new points of interaction between viral DNA and its host, highlighting the extensive coevolution of the virus and pointing toward possible targets for future cancer and anti-viral drugs.

"Epstein-Barr is a human tumor virus associated with many carcinomas and lymphomas and how it is regulated is something we need to understand in detail," said Paul Lieberman, Ph.D., the McNeil Professor of Molecular Medicine and Translational Research and director of Wistar's Center for Chemical Biology and Translational Medicine. "The EBV atlas is an instructive guide for ho
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Contact: Greg Lester
glester@wistar.org
215-898-3943
The Wistar Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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