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Title: Cytomegalovirus pp65 limits dissemination but is dispensable for persistence

The tegument phosphoprotein pp65 (UL83) is the most abundant virion protein in human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). Since pp65 is immunodominant in persistently infected individuals, subunit vaccines against HCMV often include pp65 as T cell stimulatory component. Although HCMV pp65 is non-essential for viral growth in vitro it is thought to have an important role in primary and persistent infection since pp65 displays multiple immunomodulatory functions. To determine whether pp65 is required for infection and to evaluate its role in natural and vaccination-induced immunity we generated a rhesus CMV lacking both homologues, pp65a (Rh111) and pp65b (Rh112). Lack of pp65 resulted in a slight growth defect in vitro and an increase of defective particle formation. However, most pp65-deleted virions in the supernatant were phenotypically normal and proteomics analysis revealed that the ratios of the remaining viral proteins were largely unchanged. RhCMV Δpp65ab was able to persistently infect CMV-negative rhesus macaques (RM) and to super-infect RM previously infected with CMV. To determine whether T cells against pp65 are essential for protection against CMV, we challenged Δpp65ab-infected animals with RhCMV ΔUS2-11, a viral recombinant that lacks inhibitors of MHC-I antigen presentation and is thus unable to overcome CMV-specific T cell immunity. Despite a completemore » lack of pp65-specific T cells, Δpp65ab protected against ΔUS2-11 challenge suggesting that pp65-specific T cells are not essential for T cell immunity against CMV. Using the same approach we further demonstrate that pp65b-specific T cells, induced by heterologous prime/boost vaccination, are not sufficient to protect against ΔUS2-11 challenge. Our data provides a new approach to test the efficacy of subunit vaccine candidates and suggest that pp65 vaccines are insufficient to induce a T cell response that recapitulates the protective effect of natural infection.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0021-9738; 40072; 400412000
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Clinical Investigation; Journal Volume: 124; Journal Issue: 5
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory