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J Infect Dis. 1998 May;177(5):1390-3.

Infection of cells with varicella-zoster virus down-regulates surface expression of class I major histocompatibility complex antigens.

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Medical Virology Section, Laboratory of Clinical Investigation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


In vitro assays indicate that both major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and II-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocytes are important for recognition of varicella-zoster virus (VZV)-infected cells. This study demonstrates that infection of human fibroblasts with wild-type or recombinant-derived strain Oka VZV results in down-regulation of surface expression of class I MHC heavy chains. Radioactive labeling of infected cells indicated that the amount of newly synthesized class I antigen was similar in uninfected and VZV-infected cells. In addition, immunoblotting showed that the amount of total cellular class I MHC heavy chains was unaffected by VZV infection. These results suggest that the reduction of class I heavy chains on the surface of VZV-infected cells is due to a defect in posttranslational processing. The down-regulation of class I MHC antigens in VZV-infected cells may provide a mechanism for the virus to escape the host immune response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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