Human CMV establishes a lifelong latent infection in the majority of people worldwide. Although most infections are asymptomatic, immunocompetent hosts devote an extraordinary amount of immune resources to virus control. To increase our understanding of CMV immunobiology in an animal model, we used a genomic approach to comprehensively map the C57BL/6 CD8 T cell response to murine CMV (MCMV). Responses to 27 viral proteins were detectable directly ex vivo, the most diverse CD8 T cell response yet described within an individual animal. Twenty-four peptide epitopes were mapped from 18 Ags, which together account for most of the MCMV-specific response. Most Ags were from genes expressed at early times, after viral genes that interfere with Ag presentation are expressed, consistent with the hypothesis that the CD8 T cell response to MCMV is largely driven by cross-presented Ag. Titration of peptide epitopes in a direct ex vivo intracellular cytokine staining assay revealed a wide range of functional avidities, with no obvious correlation between functional avidity and the strength of the response. The immunodominance hierarchy varied only slightly between mice and between experiments. However, H-2b-expressing mice with different genetic backgrounds responded preferentially to different epitopes, indicating that non-MHC-encoded factors contribute to immunodominance in the CD8 T cell response to MCMV.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy