Unique variations of Epstein-Barr virus-encoded BARF1 gene in nasopharyngeal carcinoma biopsies

Yun Wang, Xiao Feng Wang, Zhi Fu Sun, Bing Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) BamHI-A rightward frame 1 (BARF1) gene is frequently expressed in EBV-associated epithelial malignancies and involves in oncogenicity and immunomodulation. To characterize the variations of BARF1 gene in different populations, the sequences of BARF1 gene in Northern Chinese nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), EBV-associated gastric carcinoma (EBVaGC) and healthy donors were analyzed. The correlation of BARF1 variation with polymorphisms of BamHI F fragment (type F and f variants) and EBV-coded viral interleukin-10 (vIL-10) gene (B95-8 and SPM patterns) was also explored. Two major subtypes of BARF1 gene, designated as B95-8 and V29A, were identified. B95-8 subtype had identical amino acid sequence to B95-8 and was the dominant subtype among the EBV isolates from Northern China. V29A subtype, with one consistent amino acid change at residue 29 (V → A) and several nucleotide changes, showed higher frequency in NPC cases (25.3%, 20/79) than in EBVaGC cases (0/45) or healthy donors (4.3%, 2/46) (NPC vs. EBVaGC: P= 0.0001; NPC vs. healthy donor: P= 0.004). A preferential linkage between BamHI F and BARF1/vIL-10 polymorphisms was found. Type f isolates was specially correlated with the V29A/SPM genotype in NPC isolates and type f/V29A/SPM was preferentially found in NPC. BARF1/c-fms homology domain, transforming domain and cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitopes of BARF1 were highly conserved in most isolates, suggesting the important role of BARF1 in virus infection and the potential usefulness in EBV-targeting immunotherapy of EBV-associated tumors. The relatively higher prevalence of type f/V29A/SPM strains in NPC may also suggest the association between these variations in multiple viral genes and NPC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalVirus Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • BARF1
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Multiple genes
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • Polymorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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