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J Virol. 1992 Dec;66(12):7067-72.

Replication-defective mutants of herpes simplex virus (HSV) induce cellular immunity and protect against lethal HSV infection.

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Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.


Live viruses and live virus vaccines induce cellular immunity more readily than do inactivated viruses or purified proteins, but the mechanism by which this process occurs is unknown. A trivial explanation would relate to the ability of live viruses to spread and infect more cells than can inactivated virus. We have used live but replication-defective mutants to investigate this question. Our studies indicate that the immune responses of mice to live virus differ greatly from the responses to inactivated virus even when the virus does not complete a replicative cycle. Further, these studies indicate that herpes simplex virus-specific T-cell responses can be generated by infection with replication-defective mutant viruses. These data indicate that the magnitude of the cellular immunity to herpes simplex virus may be proportional to the number or quantity of different viral gene products expressed by an immunizing virus.

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