Sequence variations in the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) latent membrane protein 1 gene have been described in numerous EBV-associated tumors with some of these variations, most notably a 30-base pair deletion in the cytoplasmic carboxyl-terminal domain, suggested as associated with an increase in tumorigenicity. In this study, EBV DNA sequence was determined from 92 tissue specimens or cell lines, including nasopharyngeal carcinoma, oral hairy leukoplakia, post-transplant lymphoma, post-transplant without pathology, mononucleosis, Burkitt's lymphoma, parotid tumor, and normal from distinct geographical regions. The amino- and carboxyl-terminal sequences and, in some cases, the full-length sequences of latent membrane protein 1 were determined. Characteristic sequence patterns distinguished strains, with the carboxyl-terminal sequence being the most informative in distinguishing among the strains. Phylogenetic relationships between strains were determined, as were signature amino acid changes that discriminate between them. A correlation between strain and disease or strain and geographic location was not detected. The sequence variation and signature sequences identified at least seven distinct strains, as well as hybrid strains that apparently result from recombination.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.