EBV is a well-established B cell-tropic virus. However, we have recently shown that the EBV type 2 (EBV-2) strain also infects primary T cells in culture and in healthy Kenyan children. This finding suggests that EBV-2, unlike the well-studied EBV-1 strain, utilizes the T cell compartment to persist. As EBV is human specific, studies to understand the role of T cells in EBV-2 persistence require an
model. Thus, we developed an EBV-2 humanized mouse model, utilizing immunodeficient mice engrafted with human cord blood CD34
stem cells. Characterization of the EBV-2-infected humanized mice established that both T cells and B cells are infected by EBV-2 and that the majority of infected mice develop a B cell lymphoma resembling diffuse large B cell lymphoma. This new
model can be utilized for studies to enhance our understanding of how EBV-2 infection of T cells contributes to persistence and lymphomagenesis.