Evaluation of non-reciprocal heterologous immunity between unrelated viruses.

PMID 25838115


Heterologous immunity refers to the phenomenon whereby a history of an immune response against one pathogen can provide a level of immunity to a second unrelated pathogen. Previous investigations have shown that heterologous immunity is not necessarily reciprocal, such as in the case of vaccinia virus (VACV). Replication of VACV is reduced in mice immune to a variety of pathogens, while VACV fails to induce immunity to several of the same pathogens, including lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). Here we examine the lack of reciprocity of heterologous immunity between VACV and LCMV and find that they induce qualitatively different memory CD8 T cells. However, depending on the repertoire of an individual host, VACV can provide protection against LCMV simply by experimentally amplifying the quantity of T cells cross-reactive with the two viruses. Thus, one cause for lack of reciprocity is differences in the frequencies of cross-reactive T cells in immune hosts.