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Keywords:

  • bcl-2;
  • Epstein–Barr virus;
  • latent membrane protein 1;
  • nasopharyngeal carcinoma;
  • p53

Interactions among p53, bcl-2 and Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) cells were evaluated by gene cotransfections. The data showed that bcl-2 expression was not only able to prevent the growth suppression induced by wild-type p53 but was also paradoxically able to inhibit the growth enhancement induced by mutant p53. Latent membrane protein 1 was shown to be capable of overcoming the growth inhibition induced by wild-type p53 and the synergistic cooperation with bcl-2 to enhance cellular growth. Latent membrane protein 1 could also cooperate with mutant p53 to provide a growth advantage for NPC cells. Most NPC revealed detectable overexpression of p53, and the majority of those were a wild type possibly responding to EBV infection. The coexpression of bcl-2 and LMP1 was thought to inhibit the growth suppression induced by wild-type p53 in NPC. But there was no associated expression between LMP1 and bcl-2 because we demonstrated that transfected LMP1 failed to induce bcl-2 expression in NPC cells in contrast to the findings in B cells. It is theorized that the cooperative expression of bcl-2 and LMP1 exists in the majority of NPC, while a minority of NPC have cooperative expression of LMP1 and mutant p53. Each cooperative interaction could play an important role in the development and progression of NPC.