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Virology. 1994 Nov 1;204(2):692-705.

The myxoma virus TNF-receptor homologue (T2) inhibits tumor necrosis factor-alpha in a species-specific fashion.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


The myxoma virus T2 protein shares extensive homology with the ligand binding domains of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptors. To characterize the T2-TNF interaction, myxoma T2 protein and rabbit, mouse, and human TNF alpha were expressed independently from vaccinia virus vectors. Growth of the TNF alpha-expressing viruses was significantly attenuated in TNF-hypersensitive L929-8 cells, and these cells were rapidly lysed by all three TNF alpha s. Rabbit cells showed strict species specificity in that RK-13 and SIRC cells were only sensitive to lysis by the homologous rabbit TNF alpha. Although RK-13 cells were hypersensitive to rabbit TNF alpha even in the absence of protein synthesis inhibitors, growth of T2 nonexpressing myxoma and vaccinia viruses in RK-13 cells was only modestly reduced in the presence of rabbit TNF alpha, suggesting that poxviruses possess additional anti-TNF mechanisms. When the ability of the myxoma T2 protein to inhibit biological activities of TNF alpha was assayed, T2 protein effectively protected L929-8 cells from lysis by rabbit, but not human or mouse TNF alpha. These studies show that rabbit TNF receptors may be species-specific for rabbit TNF alpha and we conclude that the myxoma T2 protein evolved to specifically inhibit TNF activities from its natural host, the South American rabbit.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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