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

w to analyze an entire, intact genome."

The published report is available online now through the journal Cell Host & Microbe, and all of the raw and processed data that went into creating the atlas are freely available online through the Lieberman laboratory.

"EBV is parasitic organism, but it is a self-contained organism that needs to obey the general rules of regulation and dynamics if it is going to reproduce and survive," Lieberman said. "Everything is integrated in this one small genome, containing just 90 or so genes, but the elements that govern its survival apply to our genomes and those of many other organisms."

EBV infection occurs within epithelial cells of the throat, sinuses, and gut, but long-term residence occurs within long-lived memory B cells, the white blood cells of the immune system that remember pathogens and produce antibodies. Once inside cells, the viral DNA becomes, in effect, a minichromosome, thriving alongside human chromosomes and relying on the same gene reading and regulating mechanisms that human chromosomes use. As the virus sets up shop in the host cell, it canif other conditions in the cell are permissivecause the cell to become cancerous. Indeed, the atlas project confirms that the most "active" EBV genomes are often found in the most cancerous cell lines.

The EBV atlas describes over 60 human transcription factorshuman proteins that bind to the EBV genome and control how viral genes are regulatedmany of which were previously unknown to interact with EBV. One newly-identified factor, Pax5, is especially interesting, according to Lieberman, because it is a gene that's largely responsible for how B cells rearrange its chromosomes to develop new, unique antibodies.

The EBV atlas project was instigated by MSKCC's Aaron Arvey, Ph.D., while he was a doctoral student in the laboratory of study co-author Christina Leslie, Ph.D., a member of the Sloan-Kettering Institute's Computati
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Contact: Greg Lester
glester@wistar.org
215-898-3943
The Wistar Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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