LMP1 association with CD63 in endosomes and secretion via exosomes limits constitutive NF-κB activation

Frederik J. Verweij, Monique A J Van Eijndhoven, Erik S. Hopmans, Tineke Vendrig, Tom Wurdinger, Ellen Cahir-Mcfarland, Elliott Kieff, Dirk Geerts, Rik Van Der Kant, Jacques Neefjes, Jaap M. Middeldorp, D. Michiel Pegtel

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The ubiquitous Epstein Barr virus (EBV) exploits human B-cell development to establish a persistent infection in ∼90% of the world population. Constitutive activation of NF-κB by the viral oncogene latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) has an important role in persistence, but is a risk factor for EBV-associated lymphomas. Here, we demonstrate that endogenous LMP1 escapes degradation upon accumulation within intraluminal vesicles of multivesicular endosomes and secretion via exosomes. LMP1 associates and traffics with the intracellular tetraspanin CD63 into vesicles that lack MHC II and sustain low cholesterol levels, even in cholesterol-trapping conditions. The lipid-raft anchoring sequence FWLY, nor ubiquitylation of the N-terminus, controls LMP1 sorting into exosomes. Rather, C-terminal modifications that retain LMP1 in Golgi compartments preclude assembly within CD63-enriched domains and/or exosomal discharge leading to NF-κB overstimulation. Interference through shRNAs further proved the antagonizing role of CD63 in LMP1-mediated signalling. Thus, LMP1 exploits CD63-enriched microdomains to restrain downstream NF-κB activation by promoting trafficking in the endosomal-exosomal pathway. CD63 is thus a critical mediator of LMP1 function in-and outside-infected (tumour) cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2115-2129
Number of pages15
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • CD63
  • endosomes
  • exosomes
  • LMP1
  • NF-κB signalling


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