There is a strong epidemiological correlation connecting holo-endemicity for malaria, early EBV infection and the development of endemic Burkitt lymphoma (eBL). In recent years, we have established a collaboration with Drs. Ann Moormann and Jeff Bailey on the relationship between EBV and Pf in eBL development and maintenance. This work, now supported by an R01 from the NCI, posits that EBV immortalization of B cells is promoted by Pf pathogen-associated molecular patterns, or PAMPs, and that the characteristic Ig/Myc translocation results from aberrant somatic hypermutation due to EBV-positive B-cell receptors recognizing malarial antigens. We will also test the role of EBV in maintenance of eBL tumors through tumor immune evasion and promotion of resistance to apoptosis using new mouse xenograft models. Our first publication from this collaboration was the genetic characterization of 27 new strains of EBV from eBL patients and future work aims to use these new strains to define the interplay with Pf in eBL pathogenesis. Check out one of our papers here!
Katie Ashley Ali Gillian Kaeden