Changing patterns of dominance in the CD8+ T cell response during acute and persistent murine gamma-herpesvirus infection

Eur J Immunol. 1999 Apr;29(4):1059-67. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1521-4141(199904)29:04<1059::AID-IMMU1059>3.0.CO;2-L.


The murine gamma-herpesvirus MHV-68 causes an acute, transient pneumonitis, followed by an infectious mononucleosis (IM)-like illness with splenomegaly, widespread latent infection of B lymphocytes and an expansion of Vbeta4+ CD8+ T cells. CD8+ T cells specific for an H-2Db-restricted epitope were prominent during the acute respiratory infection, but their prevalence declined rapidly during the mononucleosis. In contrast, CD8+ T cells specific for an H-2Kb-restricted epitope, apparently expressed by virus-infected B lymphocytes, were most numerous during the mononucleosis illness and were maintained at relatively high frequencies thereafter. The prevalence of all peptide-specific CD8+ T cells decreased during the expansion of the Vbeta4+ CD8+ population, which did not recognize any peptide epitopes identified and was apparent also in an MHC class I-deficient environment. The CD8+ T cell population recognizing productively infected epithelial cells thus differed substantially from that responding during the IM illness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • Female
  • Gammaherpesvirinae*
  • H-2 Antigens / analysis
  • Herpesviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL


  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • H-2 Antigens