Half a century has passed since Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) particles were isolated from the cultured lymphoblasts of Burkitt lymphoma. During the period, molecular biology, hematology/immunology, and transplantation medicine made amazing progress, that clarified the mode of infection and pathophysiology of the virus in human diseases. Research strategies on the relationship between EBV and human have expanded to the epidemiology, structures and functions of both genomes, regulatory genes including microRNA, and the nature of epigenetics. Although no animal models of EBV infection long hampered the completion of in vivo experiments, humanized mice have broken through a barrier of in vitro study on EBV-infected cell lines. Our understanding of the life cycle of EBV has continued to deepen about the infection via the CD21 receptor expressed on B cells, the latency, reactivation/reinfection, and transformation, and also the dynamics of T-cell immune response and the intracellular immunosurveillance beyond acquired and innate immunity. On the other hand, the disease entity of life-threatening lymphoproliferative disease of EBV-infected T cells or NK cells is on controversial. The other parts of this special issue include the recent topics of the basic and clinical researches of EBV as the oncogenic virus. Then, we herewith overview the research history of EBV with special reference to the infected cells and host immune responses in EBV-associated diseases.
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