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J Virol. 2006 Jun;80(12):5854-61.

The cysteine-rich region and secreted form of the attachment G glycoprotein of respiratory syncytial virus enhance the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte response despite lacking major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted epitopes.

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National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


The cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) response is important for the control of viral replication during respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. The attachment glycoprotein (G) of RSV does not encode major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted epitopes in BALB/c mice (H-2(d)). Furthermore, studies to date have described an absence of significant CTL activity directed against this protein in humans. Therefore, G previously was not considered necessary for the generation of RSV-specific CTL responses. In this study, we demonstrate that, despite lacking H-2(d)-restricted epitopes, G enhances the generation of an effective CTL response against RSV. Furthermore, we show that this stimulatory effect is independent of virus titers and RSV-induced inflammation; that it is associated primarily with the secreted form of G; and that the effect depends on the cysteine-rich region of G (GCRR), a segment conserved in wild-type isolates worldwide. These findings reveal a novel function for the GCRR with potential implications for the generation of protective cellular responses and vaccine development.

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