The biology of EBV infection in human epithelial cells

Semin Cancer Biol. 2012 Apr;22(2):137-43. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2012.02.004.


EBV-associated human malignancies may originate from B cells and epithelial cells. EBV readily infects B cells in vitro and transforms them into proliferative lymphoblastoid cell lines. In contrast, infection of human epithelial cells in vitro with EBV has been difficult to achieve. The lack of experimental human epithelial cell systems for EBV infection has hampered the understanding of biology of EBV infection in epithelial cells. The recent success to infect human epithelial cells with EBV in vitro has allowed systematic investigations into routes of EBV entry, regulation of latent and lytic EBV infection, and persistence of EBV infection in infected epithelial cells. Understanding the biology of EBV infection in human epithelial cells will provide important insights to the role of EBV infection in the pathogenesis of EBV-associated epithelial malignancies including nasopharyngeal carcinoma and gastric carcinoma.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Epithelial Cells / virology*
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / complications
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / pathology
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / physiology*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / complications
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Nasopharynx / pathology
  • Nasopharynx / virology*