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J Virol. 2007 Mar;81(5):2240-8. Epub 2006 Dec 20.

Characterization of primary and memory CD8 T-cell responses against ranavirus (FV3) in Xenopus laevis.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


In mammals, resistance to primary and secondary viral infections critically involves major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted cytotoxic CD8+ T lymphocytes (CTLs). Although many gene homologues involved in CTL function have been identified in all vertebrate classes, antiviral CTL responses have been poorly characterized for ectothermic vertebrates. Because of the threat of emerging wildlife viral diseases to global biodiversity, fundamental research on comparative viral immunity has become crucial. Ranaviruses (family Iridoviridae) are double-stranded DNA viruses possibly implicated in the worldwide decline of amphibian populations. We used the frog Xenopus laevis as a model to evaluate adaptive immune responses to the ranavirus frog virus 3 (FV3). FV3 infects the kidneys of adults but is cleared within 4 weeks, with faster clearance upon secondary infections. In vivo depletion of CD8+ T cells markedly decreases the survival of adults after viral infection. To further investigate the involvement of anti-FV3 CD8+ T-cell effectors in host resistance in vivo, we determined the proliferation kinetics of CD8+ T cells in the spleen by bromodeoxyuridine incorporation and their infiltration of kidneys by immunohistology. Upon primary infection, CD8+ T cells significantly proliferate in the spleen and accumulate in infected kidneys from day 6 onward, in parallel with virus clearance. Earlier proliferation and infiltration associated with faster viral clearance were observed during a secondary infection. These results provide in vivo evidence of protective antigen-dependent CD8+ T-cell proliferation, recognition, and memory in fighting a natural pathogen in Xenopus.

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