Immunologic Research

, Volume 58, Issue 2–3, pp 268–276 | Cite as

The interplay between Epstein–Barr virus and B lymphocytes: implications for infection, immunity, and disease

  • Olivia L. Hatton
  • Aleishia Harris-Arnold
  • Steven Schaffert
  • Sheri M. Krams
  • Olivia M. MartinezEmail author


Human B cells are the primary targets of Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) infection. In most cases, EBV infection is asymptomatic because of a highly effective host immune response, but some individuals develop self-limiting infectious mononucleosis, while others develop EBV-associated lymphoid or epithelial malignancies. The viral and immune factors that determine the outcome of infection are not understood. The EBV life cycle includes a lytic phase, culminating in the production of new viral particles, and a latent phase, during which the virus remains largely silent for the lifetime of the host in memory B cells. Thus, in healthy individuals, there is a tightly orchestrated interplay between EBV and the host that allows the virus to persist. To promote viral persistence, EBV has evolved a variety of strategies to modulate the host immune response including inhibition of immune cell function, blunting of apoptotic pathways, and interfering with antigen processing and presentation pathways. In this article, we focus on mechanisms by which dysregulation of the host B cell and immune modulation by the virus can contribute to development of EBV+ B cell lymphomas.


B cells Epstein–Barr virus Latent membrane protein 1 microRNA Signal transduction 



This work was supported by NIH award RO1 AI41769 (OMM), a ROTRF award (OMM), and the Lucile Salter Packard Foundation. Dr. Olivia Hatton is supported by an NIH IRACDA Fellowship, Dr. Steven Schaffert is supported by a Transplant and Tissue Engineering Center of Excellence Fellowship, and Aleishia Harris–Arnold is supported by an NIH pre-doctoral training award.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olivia L. Hatton
    • 1
  • Aleishia Harris-Arnold
    • 1
  • Steven Schaffert
    • 1
  • Sheri M. Krams
    • 1
  • Olivia M. Martinez
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Program in Immunology and Department of Abdominal TransplantationStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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