Oropharyngeal Group A Streptococcal Colonization Disrupts Latent Epstein-Barr Virus Infection

Ueda, Seigo; Uchiyama, Satoshi; Azzi, Tarik; Gysin, Claudine; Berger, Christoph; Bernasconi, Michele; Harabuchi, Yasuaki; Zinkernagel, Annelies S.; Nadal, David
January 2014
Journal of Infectious Diseases;Jan2014, Vol. 209 Issue 2, p255
Academic Journal
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infects >90% of the human population within the first 2 decades of life and establishes reversible latent infection in B cells. The stimuli that lead to switching from latent to lytic EBV infection in vivo are still elusive. Group A streptococci (GAS) are a common cause of bacterial pharyngotonsillitis in children and adolescents and colonize the tonsils and pharynx of up to 20% of healthy children. Thus, concomitant presence of EBV and GAS in the same individual is frequent. Here, we show that EBV carriers who are colonized with GAS shed EBV particles in higher numbers in their saliva, compared with EBV carriers not colonized with GAS. Messenger RNA levels of the master lytic regulatory EBV gene BZLF1 were more frequently detected in tonsils from EBV carriers colonized with GAS than from EBV carriers not colonized. Heat-killed GAS, potentially mimicking GAS colonization, elicited lytic EBV in latently infected lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) partially via Toll-like receptor 2 triggering, as did purified GAS peptidoglycan. Thus, colonization by GAS might benefit EBV by increasing the EBV load in saliva and thereby enhancing the likelihood of EBV spread to other hosts.


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