Cells expressing herpes simplex virus glycoprotein gC but not gB, gD, or gE are recognized by murine virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes.
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To determine which viral molecule(s) is recognized by herpes simplex virus (HSV)-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), target cells were constructed which express individual HSV glycoproteins. A mouse L cell line, Z4/6, which constitutively expressed high levels of HSV type 2 (HSV-2) gD (gD-2) was isolated and characterized previously (D. C. Johnson and J. R. Smiley, J. Virol. 54:682-689, 1985). Despite the expression of gD on the surface of Z4/6 cells, these cells were not killed by anti-HSV-2 CTL generated following intravaginal infection of syngeneic mice. In contrast, parental Z4 or Z4/6 cells infected with HSV-2 were lysed. Furthermore, unlabeled Z4/6 cells were unable to block the lysis of HSV-2-infected labeled target cells. Cells which express HSV-1 gB (gB-1) were isolated by transfecting L cells with the recombinant plasmid pSV2gBneo, which contains the HSV-1 gB structural sequences and the neomycin resistance gene coupled to the simian virus 40 early promoter and selecting G418-resistant cell lines. One such cell line, Lta/gB15, expressed gB which was detected by immunoprecipitation and at the cell surface by immunofluorescence. Additionally, cells expressing HSV-1 gC (gC-1) or gE (gE-1) were isolated by transfecting Z4 cells, which are L cells expressing ICP4 and ICP47, with either the recombinant plasmid pGE15neo, which contains the gE structural sequences and the neomycin resistance gene, or pDC17, which contains the gC structural gene coupled to the gD-1 promoter. A number of G418-resistant cell lines were isolated which expressed gC-1 or gE-1 at the cell surface. Anti-HSV-1 CTL generated following footpad infection of syngeneic mice were unable to lyse target cells expressing gB-1 or gE-1. In contrast, target cells expressing very low levels of gC-1 were killed as well as HSV-1-infected target cells. Furthermore, infection of gC-1-transformed target cells with wild-type HSV-1 or a strain of HSV-1 that does not express gC did not result in a marked increase in susceptibility to lysis. These results suggest that murine class I major histocompatibility complex-restricted anti-HSV CTL recognize gC-1 but do not recognize gB, gD, or gE as these molecules are expressed in transfected syngeneic target cells. The results are discussed in terms of recent evidence concerning the specificity of antiviral CTL.
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