Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a herpesvirus associated with lymphomas and carcinomas. While EBV-associated epithelial cell lines are good model systems to investigate the role of EBV in carcinoma, only a few cell lines are available as they are hard to acquire. A greater variety of naturally EBV-infected cell lines which are derived from tumour patients are needed to represent various features of EBVaGC. We characterized cell line YCCEL1, established from a Korean EBVaGC patient, to ascertain whether it can be used to study the roles of EBV in EBVaGC. The expression of EBV genes and cell surface markers was examined by in situ hybridization, RT-PCR, Western blot analysis, immunofluorescence assay and Northern blot analysis. EBV episomal status was analysed by Southern blotting and real-time PCR. This cell line expressed EBV nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) and latent membrane protein 2A (LMP2A), but not EBNA2, LMP2B nor LMP1. The majority of the lytic proteins were not detected in YCCEL1 cells either before or after treatment with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate. YCCEL1 cells expressed BART microRNAs (miRNAs) at high level but did not express BHRF1 miRNAs. YCCEL1 cells expressed cytokeratin, but not CD21 and CD19, suggesting CD21-independent EBV infection. The latent EBV gene and EBV miRNA expression pattern of YCCEL1 cells closely resembled that of general EBVaGC cases. Our results support the value of YCCEL1 cells as a good model system to study the role of EBV in gastric carcinogenesis.
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