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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Interleukin-18 expression induced by Epstein-Barr virus-infected cells.

Human Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-negative Burkitt lymphomas cells usually grow as malignant subcutaneous tumors in athymic mice, but these tumors regress when the Burkitt cells are injected in conjunction with EBV-positive lymphoblastoid cells or when the Burkitt cells are transfected with the EBV latent membrane protein-1 (LMP-1) gene. Tumor regression is mediated, in part, by murine interferon gamma ( IFN-gamma) and the IFN-gamma- induced murine chemokine IFN-gamma-inducible protein-10 ( IP-10). The mechanisms by which EBV-LMP-1 promotes the expression of IFN-gamma has remained unclear. Here we show that murine interleukin (IL)-18 was consistently expressed in regressing Burkitt tumors but was either expressed at low levels or absent from progressively growing Burkitt tumors. By immunohistochemical methods, IL-18 protein was visualized in regressing but not in progressively growing Burkitt tumors. In contrast, IL-12 p35 and IL-12 p40 were only rarely expressed in regressing Burkitt tumors. In splenocyte cultures, EBV-infected lymphoblastoid cells and LMP-1-transfected Burkitt cells promoted the expression of IL-18 but not the expression of IL-12 p35 and IL-12 p40. A neutralizing antibody directed at murine IL-18 reduced murine IP-10 expression induced by EBV-immortalized cells in splenocyte cultures. These results provide evidence for IL-18 expression in response to a viral latency protein and suggest that IL-18 may play an important role as an endogenous inducer of IFN-gamma expression, thereby contributing to tumor regression.[1]


  1. Interleukin-18 expression induced by Epstein-Barr virus-infected cells. Yao, L., Setsuda, J., Sgadari, C., Cherney, B., Tosato, G. J. Leukoc. Biol. (2001) [Pubmed]
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