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Human B Cells Immortalized with Epstein-Barr Virus Upregulate CCR6 and CCR10 and Downregulate CXCR4 and CXCR5

Compared to peripheral blood resting B cells, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-immortalized B cells consistently express CCR6 and CCR10 at high levels and CXCR4 and CXCR5 at low levels. Accordingly, these cells vigorously responded to the ligands of CCR6 and CCR10 but not to those of CXCR4 and CXCR5. In a human EBV-negative B-cell line, BJAB, stable expression of EBNA2 upregulated CCR6, while stable expression of EBNA2 as well as LMP1 downregulated CXCR4. On the other hand, upregulation of CCR10 or downregulation of CXCR5 was not induced in BJAB by stable expression of EBNA2 or LMP1. Thus, these changes may be due to a plasmablast-like stage of B-cell differentiation fixed by EBV immortalization. EBV-infected B cells in infectious mononucleosis are known to avoid germinal centers and accumulate under the mucosal surfaces. EBV-associated opportunistic lymphomas also tend to occur in extranodal sites. These preferred sites of in vivo localization are consistent with the unique profile of chemokine receptor expression exhibited by EBV-immortalized B cells.