Mathematical Biology Seminar

Lindsey Hutt-Fletcher
Wednesday March 11, 2009
3:05pm in LCB 215

Abstract: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is an ubiquitous, orally transmitted, human herpesvirus that is carried by more than ninety five percent of the adult population worldwide. The two major cell types infected by the virus are B cells and epithelial cells. One model proposes that during a primary infection virus replicates initially in epithelial cells and establishes latency in the long-lived memory B cell population. Terminal differentiation of the infected B cell triggers reactivation of virus which can then be amplified in an epithelial cell for transmission to a new host or replenishment of the infected B cell pool. This model sees persistence of virus as a dynamic equilibrium which, if disturbed, can lead to one of the several lymphoid and epithelial malignancies with which EBV is associated. It is driven by the ability of the virus to move from one cell type to the other. Different virus envelope and cell membrane proteins are used by EBV to enter B cells and epithelial cells. The cell type in which the virus is replicating can influence the ratios of these proteins in the emerging virion particle and thus target the virus from one cell to the other. The focus of this talk will be on identification of the virus and cell proteins involved in virus entry and study of the ways in which they may influence persistence and disease.