Epstein-Barr-virus-encoded LMP2A induces primary epithelial cell migration and invasion: Possible role in nasopharyngeal carcinoma metastasis

Dirk M. Pegtel, Aravind Subramanian, Tzung Shiahn Sheen, Ching Hwa Tsai, Todd R. Golub, David A. Thorley-Lawson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Nonkeratinizing nasopharyngeal carcinomas (NPC) are >95% associated with the expression of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) LMP2A latent protein. However, the role of EBV, in particular, LMP2A, in tumor progression is not well understood. Using Affymetrix chips and a pattern-matching computational technique (neighborhood analysis), we show that the level of LMP2A expression in NPC biopsy samples correlates with that of a cellular protein, integrin-alpha-6 (ITGαe), that is associated with cellular migration in vitro and metastasis in vivo. We have recently developed a primary epithelial model from tonsil tissue to study EBV infection in epithelial cells. Here we report that LMP2A expression in primary tonsil epithelial cells causes them to become migratory and invasive, that ITGαe RNA levels are up-regulated in epithelial cells expressing LMP2, and that ITGαe protein levels are increased in the migrating cells. Blocking antibodies against ITGα6 abrogated LMP2-induced invasion through Matrigel by primary epithelial cells. Our results provide a link between LMP2A expression, ITGαe expression, epithelial cell migration, and NPC metastasis and suggest that EBV infection may contribute to the high incidence of metastasis in NPC progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15430-15442
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005

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