Herpes simplex virus-specific memory CD8+ T cells are selectively activated and retained in latently infected sensory ganglia

Immunity. 2003 May;18(5):593-603. doi: 10.1016/s1074-7613(03)00112-2.


This study challenges the concept that herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) latency represents a silent infection that is ignored by the host immune system, and suggests antigen-directed retention of memory CD8(+) T cells. CD8(+) T cells specific for the immunodominant gB(498-505) HSV-1 epitope are selectively retained in the ophthalmic branch of the latently infected trigeminal ganglion, where they acquire and maintain an activation phenotype and the capacity to produce IFN-gamma. Some CD8(+) T cells showed TCR polarization to junctions with neurons. A gB(498-505) peptide-specific CD8(+) T cell clone can block HSV-1 reactivation from latency in ex vivo trigeminal ganglion cultures. We conclude that CD8(+) T cells provide active surveillance of HSV-1 gene expression in latently infected sensory neurons.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Herpes Simplex / immunology*
  • Immunologic Memory / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Simplexvirus / immunology*
  • Trigeminal Ganglion / immunology*
  • Trigeminal Ganglion / virology
  • Virus Latency / immunology


  • Epitopes