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J Virol. 2000 Apr;74(8):3455-63.

CD4(+) T-cell-mediated antiviral protection of the upper respiratory tract in BALB/c mice following parenteral immunization with a recombinant respiratory syncytial virus G protein fragment.

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Centre d'Immunologie Pierre Fabre, 74 164 St. Julien en Genevois, France.


We analyzed the protective mechanisms induced against respiratory syncytial virus subgroup A (RSV-A) infection in the lower and upper respiratory tracts (LRT and URT) of BALB/c mice after intraperitoneal immunization with a recombinant fusion protein incorporating residues 130 to 230 of RSV-A G protein (BBG2Na). Mother-to-offspring antibody (Ab) transfer and adoptive transfer of BBG2Na-primed B cells into SCID mice demonstrated that Abs are important for LRT protection but have no effect on URT infection. In contrast, RSV-A clearance in the URT was achieved in a dose-dependent fashion after adoptive transfer of BBG2Na-primed T cells, while it was abolished in BBG2Na-immunized mice upon in vivo depletion of CD4(+), but not CD8(+), T cells. Furthermore, the conserved RSV-A G protein cysteines and residues 193 and 194, overlapping the recently identified T helper cell epitope on the G protein (P. W. Tebbey et al., J. Exp. Med. 188:1967-1972, 1998), were found to be essential for URT but not LRT protection. Taken together, these results demonstrate for the first time that CD4(+) T cells induced upon parenteral immunization with an RSV G protein fragment play a critical role in URT protection of normal mice against RSV infection.

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