Study Title:

Lactic acid downregulates viral microRNA to promote Epstein-Barr Virus-immortalized B lymphoblastic cell adhesion and growth.

Study Abstract

High plasma lactate is associated with poor prognosis of many malignancies, but its role in virally mediated cancer progression and underlying molecular mechanisms are unclear. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the first human oncogenic virus, causes several cancers, including B cell lymphoma. Here, we report that lactate dehydrogenase (LDH-A) expression and lactate production are elevated in EBV-immortalized B lymphoblastic cells, and lactic acid (LA, acidic lactate) at low concentration triggers EBV-infected B cell adhesion, morphological changes, and proliferation in vitro and in vivo Moreover, LA-induced responses of EBV-infected B cells uniquely occurs in viral latency type III and it is dramatically associated with the inhibition of global viral microRNAs, particularly the miR-BHRF1 cluster, and the high expression of SMAD3, JUN, and COL1A genes. The introduction of miR-BHRF1-1 blocks the LA-induced effects of EBV-infected B cells. Thus, this may be a novel potential mechanism to explain EBV-immortalized B lymphoblastic cell malignancy in an LA microenvironment.IMPORTANCE The tumor microenvironment is complicated, and lactate, which is created by cell metabolism, contributes to an acidic microenvironment that facilitates cancer progression. However, how lactic acid (LA) operates in virus-associated cancers is unclear. Thus, we studied how the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV, first tumor virus identified in humans; it is associated with many cancers) upregulates the expression of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH-A) and lactate production in B-lymphoma cells. Elevated LA induces adhesion and the growth of EBV-infected B cells by inhibiting viral microRNA transcription. Thus, we offer a novel understanding of how EBV utilizes an acidic microenvironment to promote cancer development.

Study Information

J Virol. 2018 Feb 14. pii: JVI.00033-18. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00033-18. [Epub ahead of print]

Full Study