Detection of anti-Epstein-Barr-virus transactivator (ZEBRA) antibodies in sera from patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Int J Cancer. 1991 Jul 9;48(5):647-9. doi: 10.1002/ijc.2910480503.


The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous Herpes virus which causes infectious mononucleosis and is associated with such different neoplasms as Burkitt's lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. EBV latently infects its target cells; nevertheless, evidence of viral replication in NPC tumours has been uncovered. Among the EBV transactivators, the ZEBRA protein plays a crucial role in switching the virus from a latent to a productive mode. ZEBRA protein was produced using a eukaryotic expression vector: the open reading frame containing the BZFLI cDNA has previously been inserted down-stream from the adenovirus major late promoter leading to expression of a 38-kDa nuclear protein. We performed serological studies by employing ZEBRA protein expressed in human cells for immunofluorescence and Western-blot assays. We were able to detect IgG anti-ZEBRA antibodies (IgG/ZEBRA) in 87% of NPC patients. These antibodies were absent in control sera; IgG/ZEBRA antibodies can be proposed as a useful marker for diagnosis of NPC tumors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis*
  • Antibody Formation
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • Cell Line
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / immunology*
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Nuclear Antigens
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis*
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / immunology
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / microbiology
  • Reference Values
  • Trans-Activators / immunology*
  • Viral Proteins*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Viral
  • BZLF1 protein, Herpesvirus 4, Human
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Nuclear Antigens
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Trans-Activators
  • Viral Proteins