We have analysed the expression of transformation-associated viral antigens, the Epstein—Barr virus (EBV) DNA content and the phenotypic characteristics of two B95-8 virus-converted sublines of the EBV-negative Burkitt's lymphoma (BL) line BL28. The converted lines called E95A-BL28 and E95B-BL28, respectively, differed in their EBV gene expression. The E95B convertant expressed virus-encoded nuclear antigens EBNA1 to -6 and the membrane protein LMP1, but only EBNA2 and EBNA5 were detected by immunofluorescence and immunoblotting in the E95A convertant. Only the entire HI W, Y and H regions could be detected in the E95A convertant by hybridization of Southern blots with probes covering the HI C, W, Y, H, F, E, K and Nhet regions of the EBV genome. EBV episomes were found to be absent in the E95A convertant as seen by Gardella gels. The E95A convertant retained the phenotypic characteristics of the EBV-negative parental line, and remained highly clonable in agarose. In contrast, expression of EBNA1 to -6 and LMP1 was accompanied by a shift towards a more lymphoblastoid cell line-like phenotype and by loss of agarose clonability in the E95B convertant.


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