Gammaherpesviruses are ubiquitous pathogens that are associated with the development of B cell lymphomas. Gammaherpesviruses employ multiple mechanisms to transiently stimulate a broad, polyclonal germinal center reaction, an inherently mutagenic stage of B cell differentiation that is thought to be the primary target of malignant transformation in virus-driven lymphomagenesis. We found that this gammaherpesvirus-driven germinal center expansion was exaggerated and lost its transient nature in the absence of interferon-regulatory factor 1 (IRF-1), a transcription factor with antiviral and tumor suppressor functions. Uncontrolled and persistent expansion of germinal center B cells led to pathological changes in the spleens of chronically infected IRF-1-deficient animals. Additionally, we found decreased IRF-1 expression in cases of human posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder, a malignant condition associated with gammaherpesvirus infection. The results of our study define an unappreciated role for IRF-1 in B cell biology and provide insight into the potential mechanism of gammaherpesvirus-driven lymphomagenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science