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J Immunol. 2008 May 15;180(10):6472-6.

Cutting edge: murine cytomegalovirus induces a polyfunctional CD4 T cell response.

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  • 1Division of Developmental Immunology, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


CD4 T lymphocytes regulate the adaptive immune response to most viruses, both by providing help to CD8 T cells and B cells as well as through direct antiviral activity. Currently, no mouse cytomegalovirus (MCMV)-specific CD4 T cell responses are known. In this study, we identify and characterize 15 I-A(b)-restricted CD4 T cell responses specific for MCMV epitopes. CD4 T cells accumulate to high levels in the spleen and lungs during acute infection and produce multiple cytokines (IFN-gamma, TNF, IL-2, IL-10, and IL-17). Interestingly, IL-17 and IFN-gamma production within epitope-specific cells was found to be mutually exclusive. CD4 T cells recognizing a peptide derived from m09 were only detectable at later times of infection and displayed a unique cytokine production profile. In total, this study reveals that the MCMV-specific CD4 T cell response is complex and functionally diverse, highlighting its important role in controlling this persistent pathogen.

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