Deficiency in Epstein-Barr virus receptors on B-lymphocytes of preleukemia patients.
Lymphocytes from eight preleukemia patients were exposed to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in vitro in an attempt to establish lymphoblastoid cell lines. No signs of viral infection were detected, and no cell lines were obtained. Studies using fluorescein-labeled EBV and flow cytometry revealed an unusual and consistent deficiency in EBV receptors in all patients examined. In control studies, about 15% of the unseparated lymphocytes from healthy donors bound fluorescein-labeled EBV. In spite of the lack of EBV receptors, B-lymphocytes amounted to 10 to 20% of the preleukemia lymphocyte populations, a proportion similar to that in healthy donors. When lymphocytes from preleukemic patients were first implanted with functional EBV receptors and then exposed to EBV, synthesis of EBV-determined nuclear, early, and viral capsid antigens was induced. Subsequently, several cell lines originating from preleukemic patients' lymphocytes were established. These lines are of a B-lymphocyte origin and carry EBV genome. They will provide experimental material for the molecular analysis of lymphocytic defects in preleukemia and their possible role in the transition to acute leukemia.
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