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Journal of virology

Gammaherpesvirus latency differentially impacts the generation of primary versus secondary memory CD8+ T cells during subsequent infection.


PMID 25142586

Abstract

Unlike laboratory animals, humans are infected with multiple pathogens, including the highly prevalent herpesviruses. The purpose of these studies was to determine the effect of gammaherpesvirus latency on T cell number and differentiation during subsequent heterologous viral infections. Mice were first infected with murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV68), a model of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, and then after latency was established, they were challenged with the Armstrong strain of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). The initial replication of LCMV was lower in latently infected mice, and the maturation of dendritic cells was abated. Although the number of LCMV-specific effector CD8(+) T cells was not altered, they were skewed to a memory phenotype. In contrast, LCMV-specific effector CD4(+) T cells were increased in latently infected mice compared to those in mice infected solely with LCMV. When the memory phase was reached, latently infected mice had an LCMV-specific memory T cell pool that was increased relative to that found in singly infected mice. Importantly, LCMV-specific memory CD8(+) T cells had decreased CD27 and increased killer cell lectin-like receptor G1 (KLRG1) expression. Upon secondary challenge, LCMV-specific secondary effector CD8(+) T cells expanded and cleared the infection. However, the LCMV-specific secondary memory CD8(+) T cell pool was decreased in latently infected animals, abrogating the boosting effect normally observed following rechallenge. Taken together, these results demonstrate that ongoing gammaherpesvirus latency affects the number and phenotype of primary versus secondary memory CD8(+) T cells during acute infection. CD8(+) T cells are critical for the clearance of intracellular pathogens, including viruses, certain bacteria, and tumors. However, current models for memory CD8(+) T cell differentiation are derived from pathogen-free laboratory mice challenged with a single pathogen or vaccine vector. Unlike laboratory animals, all humans are infected with multiple acute and chronic pathogens, including the highly prevalent herpesviruses Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex viruses (HSV), and varicella-zoster virus (VZV). The purpose of these studies was to determine the effect of gammaherpesvirus latency on T cell number and differentiation during subsequent heterologous viral infections. We observed that ongoing gammaherpesvirus latency affects the number and phenotype of primary versus secondary memory CD8(+) T cells during acute infection. These results suggest that unlike pathogen-free laboratory mice, infection or immunization of latently infected humans may result in the generation of T cells with limited potential for long-term protection.