Four peptides were synthesized on the basis of amino acid sequences deduced from a highly spliced transcript encoded by the Bam W, Y, and H fragments of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) genome [Bodescot, M., Chambraud, J. B., Farrell, P. J. & Perricaudet, M. (1984) EMBO J. 3, 1913-1917]. Rabbit antisera against three of the four peptides identified a nuclear polypeptide that varied between 22 and 70 kDa in molecular size. Four of 20 EBV-positive human sera contained antibodies against this polypeptide. Since this is the fifth EBV-determined nuclear antigen (EBNA) discovered in growth-transformed cells, it is designated EBNA5. The antigen was detected in virus nonproducer lines (less than 0.01% EBV early antigen expression) and is thus not dependent on the viral cycle. It was differentially expressed depending on the origin of the lines. All 10 lymphoblastoid cell lines tested expressed EBNA5, but it could not be detected in 10 of 11 EBV-carrying Burkitt lymphoma lines. Infection of tonsillar lymphocytes with the B95-8 strain of EBV induced six EBNA5-specific polypeptides that varied between 41 and 70 kDa in molecular size with regular increments of 6 kDa. This may be due to the fact that the EBNA5 coding sequence includes the Bam W internal repeat. Parallel infection of the EBV-negative Burkitt lymphoma line Ramos with the same viral substrain did not induce detectable levels of EBNA5, nor was this antigen present in permanently EBV-converted Ramos sublines. These findings imply that the expression of the viral genome varies among B cells having different phenotypes.