Ethnic differences in the expression of Epstein-Barr virus latent membrane protein-1 mutations in nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Mutat Res. 2000 Dec 20;457(1-2):69-78. doi: 10.1016/s0027-5107(00)00129-9.


The latent membrane protein-1 (LMP1) of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a viral oncoprotein implicated in several EBV-associated pathologies. Many studies have characterized carboxy-terminal mutations within LMP1, errors in this area are critical since this portion contains sequences responsible for LMP1 targeting, half-life and association with host cell proteins. Although, data suggests that mutations in this area extend LMP1 half-life and increase its oncogenesis, some studies have not shown this to be true for all EBV-associated tumors. In order to evaluate 3'-end LMP1-DNA mutations in three different ethnic populations with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), we examined EBV-DNA in 34 patients of various origins (Caucasian, Chinese and Inuit). While 68% of the total group expressed EBV-antigens, only 56% of Caucasians but 86% of Inuit expressed this viral protein. Over 67% of Inuit NPC tissue contained the characteristic 30 bp deletion that was observed in only 20% of Caucasians and 33% of Chinese samples. DNA sequencing revealed that the Inuit population showed the most frequent DNA mutations and corresponding amino acid alterations in LMP1. Our results suggest that EBV-associated NPC-DNA mutations in LMP1 do not occur at equal rates in different racial groups and are more common at distinct sites in NPC tissue from Chinese and Inuit sources.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • DNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Ethnic Groups / genetics*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / genetics
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Inuits / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation*
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / virology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / genetics*


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Viral
  • EBV-associated membrane antigen, Epstein-Barr virus
  • Viral Matrix Proteins