The effects of the Epstein-Barr virus latent membrane protein 2A on B cell function

Int Rev Immunol. 2001;20(6):805-35. doi: 10.3109/08830180109045591.


Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) infects B-lymphocytes circulating through the oral epithelium and establishes a lifelong latent infection in a subset of mature-memory B cells. In these latently infected B cells, EBV exhibits limited gene expression with the latent membrane protein 2A (LMP2A) being the most consistently detected transcript. This persistent expression, coupled with many studies ofthe function of LMP2A in vitro and invivo, indicates that LMP2A is functioning to control some aspect of viral latency. Establishment and maintenance of viral latency requires exquisite manipulation of normal B cell signaling and function. LMP2A is capable of blocking normal B cell signal transduction in vitro, suggesting that LMP2A may act to regulate lytic activation from latency in vivo. Furthermore, LMP2A is capable of providing B cells with survival signals in the absence of normal BCR signaling. These data show that LMP2A may help EBV-infected cells to persist in vivo. This review discusses the advances that have been made in our understanding of LMP2A and the effects it has on B cell development, activation, and viral latency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Transformation, Viral
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / immunology
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / virology
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Viral
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / immunology
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Immunological
  • Mutation
  • Signal Transduction
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / chemistry
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / immunology*


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