The authors found that, in patients with IM, memory CD8+ T cells specific to an epitope of the influenza virus encountered in a previous infection, also recognized and reacted to an epitope of the Epstein-Barr virus. These two epitopes, with only 33% similarity, stimulate different T cell activities, which in sum skew the immune response to EBV infection. Excessive lymphocyte proliferation contributes to the marked deviation in disease course and is symptomatic of IM.
Overall, this demonstration of cross-reactivity involving 2 immunodominant epitopes from 2 of the most common human viruses highlights the potential importance of cross-reactive T cells in human disease states.
Title: Cross-reactive influenza virus-specific CD8+ T cells contribute to lymphoproliferation in Epstein-Barr virus-associated infectious mononucleosis
University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
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