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Virology. 2005 Sep 30;340(2):296-306.

Antigen-specific and non-specific CD4+ T cell recruitment and proliferation during influenza infection.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, Aab Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of Rochester Medical Center, NY 14642, USA.


To track epitope-specific CD4(+) T cells at a single-cell level during influenza infection, the MHC class II-restricted OVA(323-339) epitope was engineered into the neuraminidase stalk of influenza/A/WSN, creating a surrogate viral antigen. The recombinant virus, influenza A/WSN/OVA(II), replicated well, was cleared normally, and stimulated both wild-type and DO11.10 or OT-II TCR transgenic OVA-specific CD4(+) T cells. OVA-specific CD4 T cells proliferated during infection only when the OVA epitope was present. However, previously primed (but not naive) transgenic CD4(+) T cells were recruited to the infected lung both in the presence and absence of the OVA(323-339) epitope. These data show that, when primed, CD4(+) T cells may traffic to the lung in the absence of antigen, but do not proliferate. These results also document a useful tool for the study of CD4 T cells in influenza infection.

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