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Viruses. 2012 Oct 29;4(11):2650-69. doi: 10.3390/v4112650.

Role of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) in understanding viral immunology: past, present and future.

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Department of Dermatology, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) is a common infection of rodents first identified over eighty years ago in St. Louis, MO, U.S.A. It is best known for its application in immunological studies. The history of LCMV closely correlates with the development of modern immunology. With the use of LCMV as a model pathogen several key concepts have emerged: Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) restriction, T cell memory, persistent infections, T cell exhaustion and the key role of immune pathology in disease. Given the phenomenal infrastructure within this field (e.g., defined immunodominant and subdominant epitopes to all T cell receptor specificities as well as the cognate tetramers for enumeration in vivo) the study of LCMV remains an active and productive platform for biological research across the globe to this day. Here we present a historical primer that highlights several breakthroughs since the discovery of LCMV. Next, we highlight current research in the field and conclude with our predictions for future directions in the remarkable field of LCMV research.

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