Enrichment of Immediate-Early 1 (m123/pp89) Peptide-Specific CD8 T Cells in a Pulmonary CD62Llo Memory-Effector Cell Pool during Latent Murine Cytomegalovirus Infection of the Lungs

Holtappels et al., J. Virol. (2000) - PMID: 11090146

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Interstitial cytomegalovirus (CMV) pneumonia is a clinically relevant complication in recipients of bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Recent data for a model of experimental syngeneic BMT and concomitant infection of BALB/c mice with murine CMV (mCMV) have documented the persistence of tissue-resident CD8 T cells after clearance of productive infection of the lungs (J. Podlech, R. Holtappels, M.-F. Pahl-Seibert, H.-P. Steffens, and M. J. Reddehase, J. Virol. 74:7496-7507, 2000). It was proposed that these cells represent antiviral "standby" memory cells whose functional role might be to help prevent reactivation of latent virus. The pool of pulmonary CD8 T cells was composed of two subsets defined by the T-cell activation marker L-selectin (CD62L): a CD62L(hi) subset of quiescent memory cells, and a CD62L(lo) subset of recently resensitized memory-effector cells. In this study, we have continued this line of investigation by quantitating CD8 T cells specific for the three currently published antigenic peptides of mCMV: peptide YPHFMPTNL processed from the immediate-early protein IE1 (pp89), and peptides YGPSLYRRF and AYAGLFTPL, derived from the early proteins m04 (gp34) and M84 (p65), respectively. IE1-specific CD8 T cells dominated in acute-phase pulmonary infiltrates and were selectively enriched in latently infected lungs. Notably, most IE1-specific CD8 T cells were found to belong to the CD62L(lo) subset representing memory-effector cells. This finding is in accordance with the interpretation that IE1-specific CD8 T cells are frequently resensitized during latent infection of the lungs and may thus be involved in the maintenance of mCMV latency.

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