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PLoS Pathog. 2012 Sep;8(9):e1002913. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002913. Epub 2012 Sep 6.

OX40 facilitates control of a persistent virus infection.

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Division of Developmental Immunology, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, La Jolla, California, United States of America.


During acute viral infections, clearance of the pathogen is followed by the contraction of the anti-viral T cell compartment. In contrast, T cell responses need to be maintained over a longer period of time during chronic viral infections in order to control viral replication and to avoid viral spreading. Much is known about inhibitory signals such as through PD-1 that limit T cell activity during chronic viral infection, but little is known about the stimulatory signals that allow maintenance of anti-viral T cells. Here, we show that the co-stimulatory molecule OX40 (CD134) is critically required in the context of persistent LCMV clone 13 infection. Anti-viral T cells express high levels of OX40 in the presence of their cognate antigen and T cells lacking the OX40 receptor fail to accumulate sufficiently. Moreover, the emergence of T cell dependent germinal center responses and LCMV-specific antibodies are severely impaired. Consequently, OX40-deficient mice fail to control LCMV clone 13 infection over time, highlighting the importance of this signaling pathway during persistent viral infection.

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