The lytic activity of secondary cytotoxic lymphocytes against influenza A virus was tested on cells which had been fused with liposomes containing the haemagglutinin and the neuraminidase of an avian influenza A virus (fowl plague virus, FPV). Fusion was obtained solely by the activity of the haemagglutinin and neuraminidase incorporated into the liposomes, without the need for any additional fusion factor. Highly reproducible lysis of these FPV-liposome target cells by influenza A-specific cytotoxic cells was found. In contrast, target cells containing the glycoproteins HN and F of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) were not lysed. In almost all experiments effector cell populations capable of lysing target cells also lysed the natural killer cell (NK)-sensitive cell line YAC-1. However, high NK activity alone was not sufficient to lyse target cells fused with liposomes containing the viral surface glycoproteins. To our knowledge this is the first report where after artificial introduction of viral surface components into cell membranes (either by fusion or by transfection) lysis of target cells was monitored also for non-specific lysis mediated by NK-like cells. Both the H-2 restriction and the virus specificity of lysis of FPV-liposome target cells indicate that influenza virus haemagglutinin and possibly neuraminidase do function as target antigens for influenza-specific T cells.


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