T cell response to the cytomegalovirus major capsid protein (UL86) is dominated by helper cells with a large polyfunctional component and diverse epitope recognition.

Research paper by Stephan S Fuhrmann, Mathias M Streitz, Petra P Reinke, Hans-Dieter HD Volk, Florian F Kern

Indexed on: 01 May '08Published on: 01 May '08Published in: The Journal of infectious diseases


T cells are crucial in controlling cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection. The CMV major capsid protein (UL86) is frequently recognized by these cells, but the nature of this response has not been explored in detail. In this study, healthy CMV-exposed individuals were examined, and ex vivo peptide stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells and flow-cytometry were used to obtain data, including response prevalence, magnitude, functional profiles, and recognized epitopes. Of 24 subjects, 19 (79%) had a UL86-specific CD4 T cell response rate between 0.03% and 1.4%. This group of individuals exhibited a similar percentage of polyfunctional T cells in their UL86-specific and pp65-specific responses. A total of 8 CD4 T cell epitopes were identified. In contrast, CD8 T cell responses to UL86 were rare and small. UL86 is of interest for monitoring the response to CMV.

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