Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) confers resistance to apoptosis in EBV-positive B-lymphoma cells through up-regulation of survivin.
Verma, Subhash C.
Robertson, Erle S.
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Resistance to apoptosis is an important component of the overall mechanism which drives the tumorigenic process. EBV is a ubiquitous human gamma-herpesvirus which preferentially establishes latent infection in viral infected B-lymphocytes. EBNA1 is typically expressed in most forms of EBV-positive malignancies and is important for replication of the latent episome in concert with replication of the host cells. Here, we investigate the effects of EBNA1 on survivin up-regulation in EBV infected human B-lymphoma cells. We present evidence which demonstrates that EBNA1 forms a complex with Sp1 or Sp1-like proteins bound to their cis-element at the survivin promoter. This enhances the activity of the complex and up-regulates survivin. Knockdown of survivin and EBNA1 showed enhanced apoptosis in infected cells and thus supports a role for EBNA1 in suppressing apoptosis in EBV infected cells. Here, we suggest that EBV encoded EBNA1 can contribute to the oncogenic process by up-regulating the apoptosis suppressor protein, survivin in EBV-associated B-lymphoma cells.