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Infection with cytotoxic T-lymphocyte escape mutants results in increased mortality and growth retardation in mice infected with a neurotropic coronavirus



Infection with cytotoxic T-lymphocyte escape mutants results in increased mortality and growth retardation in mice infected with a neurotropic coronavirus



Journal of Virology 72(7): 5912-5918



C57BL/6 mice infected with mouse hepatitis virus strain JHM (MHV-JHM) develop a chronic demyelinating encephalomyelitis several weeks after inoculation. Previously, we showed that mutations in the immunodominant CD8 T-cell epitope (S-510-518) could be detected in nearly all samples of RNA and virus isolated from these mice. These mutations abrogated recognition by T cells harvested from the central nervous systems of infected mice in direct ex vivo cytotoxicity assays. These results suggested that cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) escape mutants contributed to virus amplification and the development of clinical disease in mice infected with wild-type virus. In the present study, the importance of these mutations was further evaluated by infecting naive mice with MHV-JHM variants isolated from infected mice and in which epitope S-510-518 was mutated. Compared to mice infected with wild-type virus, variant virus-infected animals showed higher mortality and morbidity manifested by decreased weight gain and neurological signs. Although a delay in the kinetics of virus clearance has been demonstrated in previous studies of CTL escape mutants, this is the first illustration of significant changes in clinical disease resulting from infection with viruses able to evade the CD8 T-cell immune response.

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Accession: 008861178

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PMID: 9621053


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