Conserved mutation of Epstein-Barr virus-encoded BamHI-A Rightward Frame-1 (BARF1) gene in Indonesian nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Susanna H. Hutajulu, Eveline K. Hoebe, Sandra Awm Verkuijlen, Jajah Fachiroh, Bambang Hariwijanto, Sofia M. Haryana, Servi Jc Stevens, Astrid E. Greijer, Jaap M. Middeldorp

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BamHI-A rightward frame-1 (BARF1) is a carcinoma-specific Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) encoded oncogene. Here we describe the BARF1 sequence diversity in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), other EBV-related diseases and Indonesian healthy EBV carriers in relation to EBV genotype, viral load and serology markers. Nasopharyngeal brushings from 56 NPC cases, blood or tissue from 15 other EBV-related disorders, spontaneous B cell lines (LCL) from 5 Indonesian healthy individuals and several prototype EBV isolates were analysed by PCR-direct sequencing. Most NPC isolates revealed specific BARF1 nucleotide changes compared to prototype B95-8 virus. At the protein level these mutations resulted in 3 main substitutions (V29A, W72G, H130R), which are not considered to cause gross tertiary structure alterations in the hexameric BARF1 protein. At least one amino acid conversion was detected in 80.3% of NPC samples compared to 33.3% of non-NPC samples (p <0.001) and 40.0% of healthy LCLs (p = 0.074). NPC isolates also showed more frequent codon mutation than non-NPC samples. EBV strain typing revealed most isolates as EBV type 1. The viral load of either NPC or non-NPC samples was high, but only in non- NPC group it related to a particular BARF1 variant. Serology on NPC sera using IgA/EBNA-1 ELISA, IgA/VCA-p18 ELISA and immunoblot score showed no relation with BARF1 sequence diversity (p = 0.802, 0.382 and 0.058, respectively). NPC patients had variable antibody reactivity against purified hexameric NPC-derived BARF1 irrespective of the endogenous BARF1 sequence. The sequence variation of BARF1 observed in Indonesian NPC patients and controls may reflect a natural selection of EBV strains unlikely to be predisposing to carcinogenesis. The conserved nature of BARF1 may reflect an important role in EBV (epithelial) persistence
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16
Number of pages12
JournalInfectious Agents and Cancer
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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