Direct identification by PCR of EBV types and variants in clinical samples

J Med Virol. 1997 Apr;51(4):355-63. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1096-9071(199704)51:4<355::aid-jmv15>;2-h.


Both Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) type A and type B, and variants of type A, were identified simultaneously by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of a DNA region coding for a 13 amino acid repeat in the Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen (EBNA) 6. Whereas this region varies extensively in type A isolates, no variation was seen in type B isolates. When a repetitive region in the LMP1-coding region was amplified by PCR, it was possible to distinguish individual variants of type B isolates from each other. Forty-two saliva samples from HIV-1-carrying individuals were examined for the presence of type A and type B virus. Both types and multiple variants of each type were found with a much higher frequency than in the saliva samples from healthy individuals. Type A EBV alone was detected in mouthwash samples from 6 infectious mononucleosis (IM) patients. Both type A and B were detected in the peripheral blood B-lymphocytes (PBL) from 1 healthy individual. The same type A variant was demonstrated both in PBL and in the mouthwash sample from another healthy individual. In this study it was shown that a combination of the EBNA 6- and LMP 1-specific PCRs followed by Southern hybridisation can be used to identify both type A and type B virus, as well as to distinguish between multiple variants of the same strain, in saliva and B-cells from both healthy and immunosuppressed individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Nuclear Antigens / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / classification
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Infectious Mononucleosis / blood
  • Infectious Mononucleosis / virology*
  • Mouthwashes
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid*
  • Saliva / virology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / genetics*


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