Virus-induced polyclonal cytotoxic T lymphocyte stimulation

UMMS Affiliation

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

Publication Date


Document Type



Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Infections with a variety of viruses (lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), murine cytomegalovirus, Pichinde virus, vaccinia virus) stimulated C57BL/6 mice to generate allospecific CTL coincidental with the generation of virus-specific CTL. In C57BL/6 (H-2b) mice, LCMV-induced CTL with reactivity against cells from mice bearing gene products of the d, f, k, p, q, and s but not the b MHC loci. Studies with congenic mouse strains indicated that the MHC loci coded for the target of the allospecific killer cells. The targets of the allospecific CTL were further identified as class I MHC Ag by three criteria: 1) target cells from congenic strains of mice differing from effector cells only in the expression of class I Ag were sensitive to lysis; 2) fibroblasts expressing low levels of class I Ag were resistant to lysis but were rendered sensitive after treatment with IFN-beta, which induced higher expression of class I Ag; and 3) antibody specific for class I Ag expressed on the target cell blocked killing. Studies with congenic mouse strains also suggested that the ability to generate high levels of the virus-induced allospecific killer cells was also under MHC regulation, as H-2b mice generated high levels and H-2k mice low levels of the allospecific CTL. Both C3H/St and C57BL/6 mice immunized against LCMV developed detectable LCMV-specific CTL when later challenged with either murine cytomegalovirus, Pichinde virus, or vaccinia virus, indicating that a virus infection can stimulate the reappearance of memory CTL. Cold target competition studies indicated no cross-reactivities between these viruses or allogeneic cells at the CTL level. Both the allospecific CTL and the reactivated LCMV-specific CTL were found in blast-size lymphocyte preparations. Spleen cells taken from LCMV-infected C57BL/6 mice 5 days post-infection spontaneously generated into allospecific and virus-specific CTL after 2 days of culture. The generation of both was dependent on the presence of supernatant factors produced only in the presence of L3T4+ cells. These factors activated allospecific CTL in spleen cells from virus-primed mice but not from control mice. We suggest that lymphokines produced as a consequence of virus infection may act to stimulate the proliferation and activation of CTL not specific to the challenge virus, resulting in a virus-induced polyclonal CTL stimulation.


J Immunol. 1989 Mar 1;142(5):1710-8.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

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Link to Article in PubMed

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