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Curr Opin Immunol. 1997 Aug;9(4):470-6.

Interference with antigen processing by viruses.

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Max von Pettenkofer-Institut, Lehrstuhl Virologie, Genzentrum, Ludwig Maximilians-Universität München, Feodor-Lynen-Strasse 25, 81377, München, Germany.


Viruses that establish persistent infections in their host, such as herpesviruses, adenoviruses or HIV, express proteins designed to pre-empt or evade recognition and elimination by MHC class I restricted CD8+ T lymphocytes. Notable discoveries during the annual period of review have demonstrated that, in principle, each single step within the MHC class I pathway of antigen processing and presentation is fair game for manipulation by viral functions. The viral factors that are natural inhibitors of this pathway have been instrumental for the elucidation of the distinct molecular mechanisms that are exploited by viruses. The viral stealth strategies that downregulate MHC class I protein surface expression may lead, however, to a higher susceptibility of virus-infected cells to natural killer cell activity. Strikingly, there is evidence that some viruses counteract increased natural killer cell recognition by expressing viral MHC class I homologues that function as surrogate inhibitors of natural killer cell activity.

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