Author(s): Vasireddi M, Hilliard J
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Abstract B virus of the family Herpesviridae is endemic to rhesus macaques but results in 80\% fatality in untreated humans who are zoonotically infected. Downregulation of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I in order to evade CD8(+) T-cell activation is characteristic of most herpesviruses. Here we examined the cell surface presence and total protein expression of MHC class I molecules in B virus-infected human foreskin fibroblast cells and macaque kidney epithelial cells in culture, which are representative of foreign and natural host initial target cells of B virus. Our results show <20\% downregulation of surface MHC class I molecules in either type of host cells infected with B virus, which is statistically insignificantly different from that observed in uninfected cells. We also examined the surface expression of MHC class Ib molecules, HLA-E and HLA-G, involved in NK cell inhibition. Our results showed significant upregulation of HLA-E and HLA-G in host cells infected with B virus relative to the amounts observed in other herpesvirus-infected cells. These results suggest that B virus-infected cell surfaces maintain normal levels of MHC class Ia molecules, a finding unique among simplex viruses. This is a unique divergence in immune evasion for B virus, which, unlike human simplex viruses, does not inhibit the transport of peptides for loading onto MHC class Ia molecules because B virus ICP47 lacks a transporter-associated protein binding domain. The fact that MHC class Ib molecules were significantly upregulated has additional implications for host-pathogen interactions.
This article was published in J Virol
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals