In vivo effects of a recombinant vaccinia virus expressing a mouse mammary tumor virus superantigen

Claude Krummenacher, Heidi Diggelmann, Hans Acha-Orbea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Early after infection, the mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) expresses a superantigen (SAg) at the surface of B lymphocytes. Interaction with the T- cell receptor Vβ domain induces a polyclonal proliferative response of the SAg-reactive T cells. Stimulated T cells become anergic and are deleted from the T-cell repertoire. We have used a recombinant vaccinia virus encoding the MMTV(GR) SAg to dissect the effects of the retroviral SAg during an unrelated viral infection. Subcutaneous infection with this recombinant vaccinia virus induces a very rapid increase of Vβ14 T cells in the draining lymph node. This stimulation does not require a large number of infectious particles and is not strictly dependent on the expression of the major histocompatibility complex class II I-E molecule, as it is required after MMTV(GR) infection. In contrast to MMTV infection during which B cells are infected, we do not observe any clonal deletion of the reactive T cells following the initial stimulation phase. Our data show that contrary to the case with MMTV, macrophages but not B cells are the targets of infection by vaccinia virus in the lymph node, indicating the ability of these cells to present a retroviral SAg. The altered SAg expression in a different target cell observed during recombinant vaccinia virus infection therefore results in significant changes in the SAg response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3026-3031
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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