Clonal chromosomal aberrations accompanied by strong telomerase activity in immortalization of human B-lymphoblastoid cell lines transformed by Epstein-Barr virus

Cancer Genet Cytogenet. 2001 Aug;129(1):30-4. doi: 10.1016/s0165-4608(01)00420-4.


Human B-lymphoblastoid cell lines transformed by Epstein-Barr (EBV-LCLs) are considered to be immortalized, although most of them show a normal diploid karyotype. Recently, we and others have shown that only part of EBV-LCLs is immortalized by developing strong telomerase activity that stabilizes the telomeres. In this study, we investigated the change in karyotypes during immortalization. All the eight immortalized cell lines developed clonal chromosomal aberrations accompanied by the development of strong telomerase activity. Interestingly, abnormal chromosomes were not shared among the immortalized cell lines. These results strongly suggest that chromosomal rearrangements and induction of strong telomerase activity are two events that take place in parallel in the process of immortalization of EBV-LCLs, and indicate that EBV-LCLs are clearly divided into two distinct groups, pre-immortal cell lines mostly with a normal diploid karyotype and post-immortal cell lines with a clonally abnormal karyotype.

MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocytes / enzymology
  • B-Lymphocytes / ultrastructure*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Transformation, Viral*
  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Karyotyping
  • Telomerase / metabolism*
  • Telomere


  • Telomerase