1887

Abstract

Natural killer (NK) cells are known for their ability to lyse tumour cell targets. Studies of infections by a number of viruses, including poxviruses and herpesviruses, have demonstrated that NK cells are vital for recovery from these infections. Little is known of the ability of viruses to infect and complete a productive replication cycle within NK cells. Even less is known concerning the effect of infection on NK cell biology. This study investigated the ability of ectromelia virus (ECTV) to infect NK cells and . Following ECTV infection, NK cell gamma interferon (IFN-) production was diminished and infected cells ceased proliferating and lost viability. ECTV infection of NK cells led to early and late virus gene expression and visualization of immature and mature virus particles, but no detectable increase in viable progeny virus. It was not unexpected that early gene expression occurred in infected NK cells, as the complete early transcription system is packaged within the virions. The detection of the secreted early virus-encoded immunomodulatory proteins IFN--binding protein and ectromelia inhibitor of complement enzymes (EMICE) in NK cell culture supernatants suggests that even semi-permissive infection may permit immunomodulation of the local environment.

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2008-03-01
2019-10-15
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