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Virus Res. 2002 Mar 20;84(1-2):67-77.

Generation of recombinant vaccinia viruses expressing Puumala virus proteins and use in isolating cytotoxic T cells specific for Puumala virus.

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Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655, USA.


Puumala (PUU) virus causes a form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), called nephropathia epidemica (NE), in Europe. HFRS is characterized by an increased capillary permeability, which we hypothesize is caused by hyperactivation of the host immune system, especially cellular immune responses. To identify cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) specific for the PUU virus from NE patients, we have made recombinant vaccinia viruses expressing PUU virus proteins, the nucleocapsid (N) and two surface glycoproteins, G1 and G2. Recombinant vaccinia viruses carrying the N or the first half of the G2 cDNA under the control of a strong synthetic promoter were made. To express G1 and the second half of the G2 proteins, however, we needed to use a T7 expression system, where the T7 RNA polymerase is produced from another recombinant vaccinia virus co-infecting the same cells. These recombinant vaccinia viruses were used to detect and clone PUU virus-specific CTLs from the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of NE patients. An HLA-A24-restricted CTL line recognizing the G2 protein was isolated and its 9-mer epitope was determined.

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