The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) is a key effector of EBV-mediated B cell transformation. LMP1 displays potent oncogenic properties in rodent fibroblasts, and induces a wide range of effects in B cells and epithelial cells. LMP1 functions as a constitutively active tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) engaging a multitude of signaling pathways that include NF-kappaB, the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), JNK, p38, the JAK/STAT pathway and, more recently, the small Rho GTPases. The constitutive activation of these signaling cascades explains LMP1's ability to induce such a diverse array of morphological and phenotypic effects in cells and provides an insight into how LMP1 may induce cell transformation. The frequent expression of LMP1 in undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) points to a role for this viral oncoprotein as a key effector molecule in NPC pathogenesis.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.