Epstein-Barr virus-encoded latent infection membrane protein 1 regulates the processing of p100 NF-kappaB2 to p52 via an IKKgamma/NEMO-independent signalling pathway

Oncogene. 2003 Oct 23;22(48):7557-69. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1207120.


The oncogenic Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded latent infection membrane protein 1 (LMP1) constitutively activates the 'canonical' NF-kappaB pathway that involves the phosphorylation and degradation of IkappaBalpha downstream of the IkappaB kinases (IKKs). In this study, we show that LMP1 also promotes the proteasome-mediated proteolysis of p100 NF-kappaB2 resulting in the generation of active p52, which translocates to the nucleus in complex with the p65 and RelB NF-kappaB subunits. LMP1-induced NF-kappaB transactivation is reduced in nf-kb2(-/-) mouse embryo fibroblasts, suggesting that p100 processing contributes to LMP1-mediated NF-kappaB transcriptional effects. This pathway is likely to operate in vivo, as the expression of LMP1 in primary EBV-positive Hodgkin's lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma biopsies correlates with the nuclear accumulation of p52. Interestingly, while the ability of LMP1 to activate the canonical NF-kappaB pathway is impaired in cells lacking IKKgamma/NEMO, the regulatory subunit of the IKK complex, p100 processing remains unaffected. As a result, nuclear translocation of p52, but not p65, occurs in the absence of IKKgamma. These data point to the existence of a novel signalling pathway that regulates NF-kappaB in LMP1-expressing cells, and may thereby play a role in both oncogenic transformation and the establishment of persistent EBV infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay
  • Humans
  • I-kappa B Kinase
  • Mice
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • NF-kappa B p52 Subunit
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Transcription Factor RelA
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Transfection
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / metabolism*


  • EBV-associated membrane antigen, Epstein-Barr virus
  • NF-kappa B
  • NF-kappa B p52 Subunit
  • Transcription Factor RelA
  • Viral Matrix Proteins
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • CHUK protein, human
  • Chuk protein, mouse
  • I-kappa B Kinase
  • IKBKB protein, human
  • IKBKE protein, human
  • Ikbkb protein, mouse
  • Ikbke protein, mouse