Multiple Epstein-Barr Virus Strains in Patients with Infectious Mononucleosis: Comparison of Ex Vivo Samples with In Vitro Isolates by Use of Heteroduplex Tracking Assays

Tierney, Rosemary J.; Edwards, Rachel Hood; Sitki-Green, Diane; Croom-Carter, Deborah; Roy, Sushmita; Qing-Yun Yao; Raab-Traub, Nancy; Rickinson, Alan B.
January 2006
Journal of Infectious Diseases;1/15/2006, Vol. 193 Issue 2, p287
Academic Journal
Recent work using a heteroduplex tracking assay (HTA) to identify resident viral sequences has suggested that patients with infectious mononucleosis (IM) who are undergoing primary Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection frequently harbor different EBV strains. Here, we examine samples from patients with IM by use of a new Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 2 HTA alongside the established latent membrane protein 1 HTA. Coresident allelic sequences were detected in ex vivo blood and throat wash samples from 13 of 14 patients with IM; most patients carried 2 or more type 1 strains, 1 patient carried 2 type 2 strains, and 1 patient carried both virus types. In contrast, coresident strains were detected in only 2 of 14 patients by in vitro B cell transformation, despite screening >20 isolates/patient. We infer that coacquisition of multiple strains is common in patients with IM, although only 1 strain tends to be rescued in vitro; whether nonrescued strains are present in low abundance or are transformation defective remains to be determined.


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