Clearance of Theiler's virus infection depends on the ability to generate a CD8+ T cell response against a single immunodominant viral peptide

Yanice V. Mendez-Fernandez, Aaron J. Johnson, Moses Rodriguez, Larry R. Pease

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) induces a chronic demyelinating disease in the central nervous system of susceptible mice. Resistance to persistent TMEV infection maps to the D locus of the major histocompatibility complex suggesting a prominent role of antiviral CTL in the protective immune response. Introduction of the Db gene into the FVB strain confers resistance to this otherwise susceptible mouse line. Infection of the FVB/Db mouse with TMEV provides a model where antiviral resistance is determined by a response elicited by a single class I molecule. Resistant mice of the H-2b haplotype mount a vigorous H-2Db-restricted immunodominant response to the VP2 capsid protein. To investigate the xtent of the contribution of the immunodominant T cell population in resistance to TMEV, FVB/Db mice were depleted of VP2-specific CD8+ T cells by peptide treatment prior to virus infection. Peptide-treated mice were not able to clear the virus and developed extensive demyelination. These findings demonstrate that the Db-restricted CD8+ T cells specific for a single viral peptide can confer resistance to TMEV infection. Our ability to manipulate this cellular response provides a model for investigating the mechanisms mediating protection against virus infection by CD8+ T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2501-2510
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003


  • CD8 T cells
  • Host resistance
  • Immunomodulation
  • Soluble peptide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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