In this study replication of A-type and B-type Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) strains has been assessed. A-type and B-type type lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) were established by infecting B lymphocytes, isolated from five EBV-seropositive donors, with different A-type and B-type virus isolates. The presence of viral capsid antigens (VCA) in these LCLs was determined by immunofluoresence assay and by immunoblotting. All of the B-type EBV strains were capable of spontaneously generating virus regardless of the origin of the donor cells. In contrast the A-type strains, other than strain IARC-BL36, did not readily produce VCA in any of the different donor lymphocytes used. This study demonstrates another biological difference between the two virus types: their ability to spontaneously enter the lytic cycle.