Two small RNAs encoded by Epstein-Barr virus and complexed with protein are precipitated by antibodies from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.
Primate cells harboring the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) genome synthesize large amounts of two small RNAs:EBER 1 and EBER 2 (EBV-encoded RNA). These RNAs are approximately 180 nucleotides long, possess 5' pppA termini, and lack poly(A). They have different T1 and pancreatic RNase digestion fingerprints. They are not found in normal B lymphocytes, in transformed B lymphocytes that lack EBV DNA, in T lymphocytes transformed by Herpesvirus ateles, or in a variety of other nonlymphoid mammalian cells. Hybridization analyses indicate that EBER 1 and EBER 2 are encoded by the EcoRI-J fragment of EBV (B95-8) DNA. In vivo both RNAs are associated with protein(s), allowing their specific precipitation by the systemic lupus erythematosus-associated antibody anti-La. The La antigen in uninfected mammalian cells consists of a heterogeneous class of small ribonucleoprotein particles, some of whose RNA components exhibit sequence homology with a highly repetitive, interspersed class of human DNA designated the Alu family. Possible functions for EBER 1 and EBER 2 in infection and cell transformation by EBV and their potential relationship to the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus are discussed.
Lerner, MR; Andrews, NC; Miller, G; Steitz, JA
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