Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous virus linked to a variety of lymphoid and epithelial malignancies. In solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients, EBV is causally associated with posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD), a group of heterogeneous lymphoid diseases. EBV+ B cell lymphomas that develop in the context of PTLD are generally attributed to the immunosuppression required to promote graft survival, but little is known regarding the role of EBV genome diversity in the development of malignancy. We deep-sequenced the EBV genome from the peripheral blood of 18 solid organ transplant recipients, including 6 PTLD patients. Sequences from 6 EBV+ spontaneous lymphoblastoid B cell lines (SLCL) were similarly analyzed. The EBV genome from PTLD patients had a significantly greater number of variations than EBV from transplant recipients without PTLD. Importantly, there were 15 nonsynonymous variations, including 8 in the latent cycle gene EBNA3C that were associated with the development of PTLD. One of the nonsynonymous variations in EBNA3C is located within a previously defined T cell epitope. These findings suggest that variations in the EBV genome can contribute to the pathogenesis of PTLD.
Eden M. Maloney, Vincent A. Busque, Sin Ting Hui, Jiaying Toh, Marcelo Fernandez-Vina, Sheri M. Krams, Carlos O. Esquivel, Olivia M. Martinez