Rebecca L. Hutcheson
Position title: Sugden Laboratory
6557 Wi Institute Medical Research
1111 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53705
Research Title. Identifying cellular genes that complement EBV’s transforming genes
Research Description. Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) primarily infects B cells, transforms them into proliferating lymphoblastic cells, and can promote their evolution into lymphomas. EBV accordingly is associated with a number of different malignancies, particularly in immunocompromised populations. For example, Burkitt Lymphoma is a lymphoma endemic to sub-Saharan Africa that affects children who have had repeated bouts of malaria. Approximately 95% of endemic Burkitt Lymphomas (eBL) are EBV-positive, where the virus exists in a latent state within tumor cells. Work done by multiple groups indicate that distinct types of EBV-positive lymphomas differ in their viral genes they express, and therefore differ in their dependence on the virus for proliferation and survival (Vereide and Sugden, Blood, 2011). These lymphomas consequently differ in their susceptibility to immune recognition. EBV does affect cellular gene expression, but it is unclear which cellular genes promote growth of EBV-positive lymphomas. We would like to understand which cellular genes contribute to the evolution of these lymphomas.