Letter | Published:

Epstein–Barr virus-induced cell fusion

Naturevolume 287pages164165 (1980) | Download Citation



Serological and molecular biological studies1–3 have shown an association between Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) and naso-pharyngeal carcinoma. Although it has been shown that the epithelioid tumour cells carry EBV genomes4, they are apparently devoid of receptors for EBV (H.W., unpublished observations). Others have suggested that fusion of EBV carrying cells with epithelial cells may be the mode of entry of the virus into cells unable to absorb the virus and that this may be mediated by one of the known syncytium-forming viruses which inhabit the respiratory tract (for example, members of the paramyxovirus group), de Thé and colleagues suggested that intercellular bridges could be seen in NPC tumour material5. We have developed a technique which permits the preparation of stable monolayers of viable human lymphoblastoid cell lines6. Using this technique we have now demonstrated that EBV can induce fusion between EBV-superinfected lymphoblastoid cells and cells devoid of EBV receptors.

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  1. Max von Pettenkofer Institute, Pettenkoferstr. 9a, 8000, München, 2, FRG

    • Gary James Bayliss
    •  & Hans Wolf


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