Gammaherpesviruses (γHV) establish a life-long latency in the host and are associated with a number of malignant human diseases. It is generally believed that T cells play a major role in controlling the initial acute infection and subsequently maintaining the virus in a quiescent state. However, the nature of the T cell response to γ-herpesvirus infections is poorly understood. In the current report we took advantage of a mouse model of γHV infection (murine herpesvirus-68, MHV-68) to investigate the T cell response to different phases of the infection. Intranasal infection with MHV-68 induces an acute infection in lung epithelial cells and long-term latency in B cells. The kinetics of the CD8+ T cell response to different lytic cycle and latency-associated antigens was highly complex and distinct patterns of response could be identified. These responses were regulated by multiple factors including differences in temporal expression of the relevant antigens, differences in the presentation of antigen in different organs, and differential expression of antigen in different types of antigen presenting cells. For example, some antigens were expressed at distinct phases of the infection and in specific organs or subsets of antigen presenting cells. In addition, recent data suggest that in addition to B cells, both macrophages and dendritic cells harbor latent MHV-68 infection, adding further complexity to their role in controlling the T cell response to this infection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy