Epstein-Barr virus genetic variation in Vietnamese patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma: full-length analysis of LMP1

Virus Genes. 2008 Oct;37(2):273-81. doi: 10.1007/s11262-008-0262-9. Epub 2008 Jul 29.


Genetic variation in tumor virus genes and its impact on function might contribute to the understanding of geographic differences in risks for virus-associated tumors. This is particularly true for the genes known to contribute to the biology of the tumor. It is has been proposed that Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) gene variation has a role in the high risk of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) in South-East Asia. NPC is among the five most common cancers in Vietnam. EBV-NPC cells always express EBV nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) and also frequently latent membrane protein 1 and 2 (LMP1 & LMP2). To investigate EBV gene variation in Vietnamese NPC patients we analyzed the full length of LMP1 gene including its promoter region, and the N-termini of both EBNA1 and LMP2A genes from five NPC biopsies. We detected two EBV variants V1 and V2 based on the LMP1 nucleotide sequence pattern compared with the prototype B95-8 and some available sequences including Chinese variants. The V1 variant shows strong similarity to a variant dominant in Southern China (China 1), while the V2 variant is similar to a Thai variant SEA 2 and partly identity with GD1 in the C-terminus. The promoter region and transmembrane domain of the SEA 2-like samples contained some specific differences compared with previously published variants. In contrast, analysis of EBNA1 N- and LMP2A N-termini only revealed minor changes. Our findings reinforces that the polymorphisms of whole LMP1 sequence should be considered in future EBV molecular epidemiology studies in different geographic populations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Biopsy
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / virology*
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Nuclear Antigens / genetics
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / classification
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / virology*
  • Phylogeny
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Vietnam
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / genetics*


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