Infection of T cells by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) causes chronic active EBV infection (CAEBV) characterized by T cell lymphoproliferative disorders (T-LPD) of unclear etiology. Here, we identified two homozygous biallelic loss-of-function mutations in PIK3CD and TNFRSF9 in a patient who developed a fatal CAEBV. The mutation in TNFRSF9 gene coding CD137/4-1BB, a costimulatory molecule expressed by antigen-specific activated T cells, resulted in a complete loss of CD137 expression and impaired T cell expansion toward CD137 ligand–expressing cells. Isolated as observed in one sibling, CD137 deficiency resulted in persistent EBV-infected T cells but without clinical manifestations. The mutation in PIK3CD gene that encodes the catalytic subunit p110δ of the PI3K significantly reduced its kinase activity. Deficient T cells for PIK3CD exhibited reduced AKT signaling, while calcium flux, RAS-MAPK activation, and proliferation were increased, suggestive of an imbalance between the PLCγ1 and PI3K pathways. These skewed signals in T cells may sustain accumulation of EBV-infected T cells, a process controlled by the CD137–CD137L pathway, highlighting its critical role in immunity to EBV.

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