n-Butyrate has been shown to induce Epstein—Barr virus (EBV) antigen synthesis in certain EBV-carrying lymphoma lines (Luka , 1979). We have studied the effect of n-butyrate on two EBV-positive Burkitt lymphoma lines by immunofluorescence and electron microscopy. In the producer line P3HR-1, the drug induced not only early antigen (EA) and virus capsid antigen (VCA) synthesis, as shown before, but also increased the number of cells containing virus particles. The transition from VCA expression to the formation of virus particles was much more effective in treated cells than in EBV antigen-producing cells of the same line. The productive cycle was associated with the development of characteristic morphological changes. In the non-producer Raji cells, n-butyrate induced EA in only a minor fraction of the cells. There were, however, clear signs of differentiation in the direction of plasma cells. Two days after the addition of n-butyrate 80% of the Raji cells could be classified as plasmablasts. After 72 h, 20% of the cells appeared as typical plasma cells.

Keyword(s): EBV , n-butyrate effect , P3HR-1 and Raji cells

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