Bystander sensitization to activation-induced cell death as a mechanism of virus-induced immune suppression

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pathology; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology

Publication Date


Document Type



Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Viral infections which induce strong T-cell responses are often characterized by a period of transient immunodeficiency associated with the failure of host T cells to proliferate in response to mitogens or to mount memory recall responses to other antigens. During acute infections, most of the activated, proliferating virus-specific T cells are sensitized to undergo apoptosis on strong T-cell receptor (TCR) stimulation, but it has not been known why memory T cells not specific for the virus fail to proliferate on exposure to their cognate antigen. Using a lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection model in which LCMV-immune Thy 1.1(+) splenocytes are adoptively transferred into Thy 1.2(+) LCMV carrier mice, we demonstrate here that T cells clearly defined as not specific for the virus are sensitized to undergo activation-induced cell death on TCR stimulation in vitro. This bystander sensitization was in part dependent on the expression of Fas ligand (FasL) on the activated virus-specific cells and gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) receptor expression on the bystander T cells. We propose that FasL from highly activated antiviral T cells may sensitize IFN-gamma-conditioned T cells not specific for the virus to undergo apoptosis rather than to proliferate on encountering antigen. This may in part explain the failure of memory T cells to respond to recall antigens during acute and persistent viral infections.

DOI of Published Version



J Virol. 2000 Apr;74(8):3650-8.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of virology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID