Virologica Sinica

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 253–261 | Cite as

Early Pattern of Epstein-Barr Virus Infection in Gastric Epithelial Cells by “Cell-in-cell”

  • Wenxing Yue
  • Meijuan Zhu
  • Lielian Zuo
  • Shuyu Xin
  • Jing Zhang
  • Lingzhi Liu
  • Shen Li
  • Wei Dang
  • Siwei Zhang
  • Yan Xie
  • Fanxiu Zhu
  • Jianhong LuEmail author


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is an important human dsDNA virus, which has been shown to be associated with several malignancies including about 10% of gastric carcinomas. How EBV enters an epithelial cell has been an interesting project for investigation. “Cell-in-cell” infection was recently reported an efficient way for the entry of EBV into nasopharynx epithelial cells. The present approach was to explore the feasibility of this mode for EBV infection in gastric epithelial cells and the dynamic change of host inflammatory reaction. The EBV-positive lymphoblastic cells of Akata containing a GFP tag in the viral genome were co-cultured with the gastric epithelial cells (GES-1). The infection situation was observed under fluorescence and electron microscopies. Real-time quantitative PCR and Western-blotting assay were employed to detect the expression of a few specific cytokines and inflammatory factors. The results demonstrated that EBV could get into gastric epithelial cells by “cell-in-cell” infection but not fully successful due to the host fighting. IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-8 played prominent roles in the cellular response to the infection. The activation of NF-κB and HSP70 was also required for the host antiviral response. The results imply that the gastric epithelial cells could powerfully resist the virus invader via cell-in-cell at the early stage through inflammatory and innate immune responses.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) Cell-in-cell infection Gastric epithelial cells Inflammatory response 



This work was supported by the National Key Research & Development Program and National Natural Science Foundations of China (2017YFC1200204, 31670171, 81728011) and Innovation Foundations for Postgraduates of Central South University (2018zzts817).

Author Contributions

JL and FZ designed and guided the study. WY and MZ performed most of the experiments; LZ, SX, JZ, LL, SL, SZ and YX participated in the experiments; WY, MZ and JL analyzed the data. JL and WY wrote and finalized the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Animal and Human Rights Statement

The study protocol was approved by the Medical Ethics Review Committees of Xiangya Hospital, Central South University.

Supplementary material

12250_2019_97_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (106 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 106 kb)


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Copyright information

© Wuhan Institute of Virology, CAS 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NHC Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis, The Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Cancer Invasion of the Chinese Ministry of EducationXiangya Hospital, Central South UniversityChangshaChina
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology, School of Basic Medical ScienceCentral South UniversityChangshaChina
  3. 3.Department of Biological ScienceFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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