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Nat Immunol. 2002 Aug;3(8):733-40. Epub 2002 Jul 8.

K3-mediated evasion of CD8(+) T cells aids amplification of a latent gamma-herpesvirus.

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Division of Virology, Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1QP, UK.


The murine gamma-herpesvirus-68 (MHV-68) K3 protein, like that of the Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpesvirus, down-regulates major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I expression. However, how this contributes to viral replication in vivo is unclear. After intranasal MHV-68 infection, K3 was transcribed both during acute lytic infection in the lung and during latency establishment in lymphoid tissue. K3-deficient viruses were not cleared more rapidly from the lung, but the number of latently infected spleen cells was reduced and the frequency of virus-specific CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) was increased. CTL depletion reversed the viral latency deficit. Thus, a major function of K3 appears to be CTL evasion during viral latency expansion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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