Epstein-barr virus lytic infection is required for efficient production of the angiogenesis factor vascular endothelial growth factor in lymphoblastoid cell lines

Hong GK, Kumar P, Wang L, Damania B, Gulley ML, Delecluse HJ, Polverini PJ and Kenney SC
Source: J Virol
Publication Date: (2005)
Issue: 79(22): 13984-13992
Research Area:
Cancer Research/Cell Biology
Immunotherapy / Hematology
Cells used in publication:
Species: human
Tissue Origin: blood
Nucleofectorâ„¢ I/II/2b
Although Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated malignancies are primarily composed of cells with one of the latent forms of EBV infection, a small subset of tumor cells containing the lytic form of infection is often observed. Whether the rare lytically infected tumor cells contribute to the growth of the latently infected tumor cells is unclear. Here we have investigated whether the lytically infected subset of early-passage lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) could potentially contribute to tumor growth through the production of angiogenesis factors. We demonstrate that supernatants from early-passage LCLs infected with BZLF1-deleted virus (Z-KO LCLs) are highly impaired in promoting endothelial cell tube formation in vitro compared to wild-type (WT) LCL supernatants. Furthermore, expression of the BZLF1 gene product in trans in Z-KO LCLs restored angiogenic capacity. The supernatants of Z-KO LCLs, as well as supernatants from LCLs derived with a BRLF1-deleted virus (R-KO LCLs), contained much less vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in comparison to WT LCLs. BZLF1 gene expression in Z-KO LCLs restored the VEGF level in the supernatant. However, the cellular level of VEGF mRNA was similar in Z-KO, R-KO, and WT LCLs, suggesting that lytic infection may enhance VEGF translation or secretion. Interestingly, a portion of the vasculature in LCL tumors in SCID mice was derived from the human LCLs. These results suggest that lytically infected cells may contribute to the growth of EBV-associated malignancies by enhancing angiogenesis. In addition, as VEGF is a pleiotropic factor with effects other than angiogenesis, lytically induced VEGF secretion may potentially contribute to viral pathogenesis.