Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) encodes at least 25 pri-microRNAs (miRNAs) in two regions of its DNA genome, BART and BHRF. B95-8, an EBV reference strain, has a deletion in the BART region. However, no information is available on the deletions or mutations in the BART and BHRF regions in clinical samples of EBV-associated lymphoma.
Nine DNA fragments encoding miR-BARTs and two coding miR-BHRF1s were amplified by PCR from DNA samples extracted from 16 cases of EBV-associated lymphoma. All the PCR products were sequenced directly. DNA fragments encoding miR-BARTs and miR-BHRF1-1 were successfully amplified from all samples. An adenine-to-guanine mutation in the DNA fragment encoding miR-BART2-3p was detected in four of the 16 cases, and a cytosine-to-thymidine mutation in the DNA fragment encoding miR-BART11-3p was detected in one of the 16 samples. These mutations were not associated with any histological categories of lymphoma. In conclusion, mutations were rarely observed in the DNA encoding viral miRNAs in cases of lymphoma. This suggests that the DNA sequences of EBV-encoded miR-BARTs and miR-BHRF1-1 are conserved in EBV-associated lymphoma.