The importance of high avidity CTL for the effective clearance of viral infections is now well established. Thus one would predict that the preferential activation and expansion of high avidity CTL following viral challenge and retention of these cells in the memory pool would be optimal for the immune response. However, whether this actually occurs during the immune response to viral infection is unknown. In this report I have analyzed the avidity of the CTL specific for the OVA(257-264) peptide during acute infection with a recombinant vaccinia expressing ovalbumin and in the memory population. I have found that the relative ratio of high and low avidity CTL varies over the course of an immune response. Thus CTL avidity is an important factor in the expansion and survival of CTL in vivo.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.