Specific human cytotoxic T cells recognize B-cell lines persistently infected with respiratory syncytial virus.
Bangham CR., McMichael AJ.
The T-lymphocyte response to respiratory syncytial (RS) virus has been invoked to explain the bronchiolitis and pneumonia caused by RS virus in human infants. However, T cells also appear to play a role in protection against RS virus infection. Although RS virus-specific human lymphocytes have been demonstrated, neither the phenotype nor the function of the lymphocytes was characterized. We describe here the induction of anti-RS virus cytotoxic T lymphocytes, in both bulk culture and restimulated cell lines, from human peripheral blood. Infection of Epstein-Barr virus-transformed human B-cell lines with RS virus in vitro readily caused a persistent infection; these cells continued to synthesize RS viral proteins and secrete infectious RS virus 4 months after infection. The persistently infected cells were used both to restimulate cytotoxic-T-cell precursors and as targets for RS virus-specific cytotoxic T cells.