The murine gammaherpesvirus-68 kills I-Ab-/- mice despite the presence of virus-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). This has raised the possibility that these CTL are functionally abnormal. Here, no difference was observed between I-Ab-/- mice and I-Ab+/+ controls in virus-specific CTL function, T cell receptor usage, or surface phenotype. Thus CTL immunity was independent of CD4+ T cells in a chronic herpesvirus infection, but was still inadequate to control virus replication.
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