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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Retrovirus-induced changes in major histocompatibility complex antigen expression influence susceptibility to lysis by cytotoxic T lymphocytes.

Retrovirus infection of murine fibroblasts was found to alter the expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigens. Fibroblasts infected with Moloney murine leukemia virus (M-MuLV) exhibited up to a 10-fold increase in cell surface expression of all three class I MHC antigens. Increases in MHC expression resulted in the increased susceptibility of M-MuLV-infected cells to lysis by allospecific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). M-MuLV appears to exert its effect at the genomic level, because mRNA specific for class I antigens, as well as beta 2-microglobulin, show a fourfold increase. Fibroblasts infected with the Moloney sarcoma virus (MSV):M-MuLV complex show no increase in MHC antigen expression or class I mRNA synthesis, suggesting that co-infection with MSV inhibits M-MuLV enhancement of MHC gene expression. Quantitative differences in class I antigen expression on virus-infected cells were also found to influence the susceptibility of infected cells to lysis by H-2-restricted, virus-specific CTL. Differential lysis of infected cells expressing varied levels of class I antigens by M-MuLV-specific bulk CTL populations and CTL clones suggests that individual clones may have different quantitative requirements for class I antigen expression. The MSV inhibition of MHC expression could be reversed by interferon-gamma. Treatment of MSV:M-MuLV-infected fibroblasts with interferon-gamma increased their susceptibility to lysis by both allogeneic and syngeneic CTL. The data suggest that interferon-gamma may function in the host's immune response to viral infections by enhancing MHC antigen expression, thereby increasing the susceptibility of virus-infected cells to lysis by H-2-restricted, virus-specific CTL.[1]


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