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Pathogens 2012, 1(2), 156-174; doi:10.3390/pathogens1020156

Epstein-Barr Virus Sequence Variation—Biology and Disease

Section of Virology, Imperial College Faculty of Medicine, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 October 2012 / Revised: 16 October 2012 / Accepted: 30 October 2012 / Published: 8 November 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infection and Cancer)
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Some key questions in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) biology center on whether naturally occurring sequence differences in the virus affect infection or EBV associated diseases. Understanding the pattern of EBV sequence variation is also important for possible development of EBV vaccines. At present EBV isolates worldwide can be grouped into Type 1 and Type 2, a classification based on the EBNA2 gene sequence. Type 1 EBV is the most prevalent worldwide but Type 2 is common in parts of Africa. Type 1 transforms human B cells into lymphoblastoid cell lines much more efficiently than Type 2 EBV. Molecular mechanisms that may account for this difference in cell transformation are now becoming clearer. Advances in sequencing technology will greatly increase the amount of whole EBV genome data for EBV isolated from different parts of the world. Study of regional variation of EBV strains independent of the Type 1/Type 2 classification and systematic investigation of the relationship between viral strains, infection and disease will become possible. The recent discovery that specific mutation of the EBV EBNA3B gene may be linked to development of diffuse large B cell lymphoma illustrates the importance that mutations in the virus genome may have in infection and human disease.
Keywords: Epstein-Barr virus; sequence variation; virus types Epstein-Barr virus; sequence variation; virus types
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Tzellos, S.; Farrell, P.J. Epstein-Barr Virus Sequence Variation—Biology and Disease. Pathogens 2012, 1, 156-174.

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