Many pathogens that cause human disease infect only humans. To identify the mechanisms of immune protection against these pathogens and also to evaluate promising vaccine candidates, a small animal model would be desirable. We demonstrate that primary T cell responses in mice with reconstituted human immune system components control infection with the oncogenic and persistent Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). These cytotoxic and interferon-γ-producing T cell responses were human leukocyte antigen (HLA) restricted and specific for EBV-derived peptides. In HLA-A2 transgenic animals and similar to human EBV carriers, T cell responses against lytic EBV antigens dominated over recognition of latent EBV antigens. T cell depletion resulted in elevated viral loads and emergence of EBV-associated lymphoproliferative disease. Both loss of CD4 + and CD8+ T cells abolished immune control. Therefore, this mouse model recapitulates features of symptomatic primary EBV infection and generates T cell-mediated immune control that resists oncogenic transformation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy