Differences in the Epstein-Barr Virus gp350 IgA Antibody Response Are Associated With Increased Risk for Coinfection With a Second Strain of Epstein-Barr Virus

Nicholas A. Smith, Paul C. Baresel, Conner L. Jackson, Sidney Ogolla, Eunice N. Toko, Sara Heit, Erwan Piriou, Odada P. Sumba, Jaap M. Middeldorp, Kathryn L. Colborn, Rosemary Rochford

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BACKGROUND: The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) viral glycoprotein gp350 has been proposed as a candidate antigen for an EBV vaccine. However, the proposed formulations of these vaccines have not taken into account the presence of 2 unique EBV strains (EBV-1 and EBV-2) present in areas of high incidence of the EBV-associated cancer, Burkitt lymphoma. METHODS: In this study, we analyze the kinetics of EBV-1 and EBV-2 infection in an asymptomatic infant cohort from Kisumu, Kenya. We also analyzed the kinetics of the antibody response against 5 EBV antigens, gp350 (IgG and IgA), VCA (IgG), EBNA-1 (IgG), EAd (IgG), and Zta (IgG). RESULTS: We observed a high frequency of coinfection with both EBV types over time, with the only observable defect in the antibody response in infants coinfected being a significantly lower level of anti-gp350 IgA at peak response. Gp350 IgA levels were also significantly lower in coinfected infants 2.5 months postinfection and at the time of coinfection. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that anti-gp350 IgA antibodies may be important for sterilizing immunity against secondary infection. These findings have implications for the development of an efficacious EBV vaccine to prevent both EBV-1 and EBV-2 infection in a population at high risk for Burkitt lymphoma.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)955-963
JournalJournal of infectious diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • antibody
  • primary infection

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