In this study, we have sequenced the C-terminal part of the Epstein- Barr virus (EBV)-BNLF-1 gene encoding for the latent membrane protein-1 from tissues of EBV-positive Danish Hodgkin's disease (HD) and of Danish and Malaysian peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTLs) and from tonsils of Danish infectious mononucleosis (IM). Our study showed that some of the 7 single-base mutations and the 30-bp deletion previously detected between codons of amino acid 322 and 366 in the BNLF-1 gene of the nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell line CAO were present in all Malaysian PTLs and in 60% of the Danish PTLs. In HD and the IM cases, the mutations were present in about 30%. The 30-bp deletion and the single base mutations occurred independently, and mutations were detectable in the majority of EBV type B-positive cases. These findings suggest that the 30-bp deletion and the 7 single-base mutations in the C-terminal part of the CAO-BNLF-1 gene do not characterize a new EBV type A substrain. Rather, some of the positions of single base mutations and the 30-bp deletion are hot spots that may have mutated independently through the evolution of EBV strains.

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