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Nat Immunol. 2001 Oct;2(10):951-6.

Specific and nonspecific NK cell activation during virus infection.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Rheumatology Division, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


The natural killer (NK) cell activation receptor Ly49H is required for resistance to murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV). We show here that NK cell proliferation and production of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) was not dependent on Ly49H expression during early MCMV infection. During a later phase of infection, however, Ly49H+ NK cells selectively proliferated and this expansion was blocked by anti-Ly49H administration. With vaccinia virus infection, neither the early nor late phase of NK cell proliferation was selective for Ly49H+ NK cells. These findings indicated that Ly49H+ NK cells were specifically activated by MCMV and that MCMV infection was characterized by nonspecific and specific phases of NK cell activation in vivo.

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