The Privacy of T Cell Memory to Viruses

  • R. M. Welsh
  • S. K. Kim
  • M. Cornberg
  • S. C. Clute
  • L. K. Selin
  • Y. N. Naumov
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 311)


T cell responses to viral infections can mediate either protective immunity or damaging immunopathology. Viral infections induce the proliferation of T cells spe cific for viral antigens and cause a loss in the number of T cells with other specificities. In immunologically naïve hosts, viruses will induce T cell responses that, dependent on the MHC, recognize a distinct hierarchy of virus-encoded T cell epitopes. This hierarchy can change if the host has previously encountered another pathogen that elicited amemory pool of T cells specific to a cross-reactive epitope. This heterologous immunity can deviate the normal immune response and result in either beneficial or harmful effects on the host. Each host has a unique T cell repertoire caused by the random DNA rearrangement that created it, so the specific T cells that create the epitope hierarchy differ between individuals. This “private specificity” seems of little signifi-cance in the T cell responseof a naïvehost toinfection, but it is of profoundimportance under conditions of heterologous immunity, where a small subset of a cross-reactive memory pool may expand and dominate a response. Examples are given of how the private specificities of immune responses under conditions of heterologous immunity influence the pathogenesis of murine and human viral infections.


Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever Cell Repertoire Memory Pool Heterologous Virus Heterologous Immunity 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. Welsh
    • 1
  • S. K. Kim
    • 1
  • M. Cornberg
    • 1
  • S. C. Clute
    • 1
  • L. K. Selin
    • 1
  • Y. N. Naumov
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA

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