Suppression of antigen-specific T cell responses by the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus viral OX2 protein and its cellular orthologue, CD200

Karen Misstear, Simon A. Chanas, S. A.Rahim Rezaee, Rachel Colman, Laura L. Quinn, Heather M. Long, Oliver Goodyear, Janet M. Lord, Andrew D. Hislop, David J. Blackbourn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Regulating appropriate activation of the immune response in the healthy host despite continual immune surveillance dictates that immune responses must be either self-limiting and therefore negatively regulated following their activation or prevented from developing inappropriately. In the case of antigen-specific T cells, their response is attenuated by several mechanisms, including ligation of CTLA-4 and PD-1. Through the study of the viral OX2 (vOX2) immunoregulator encoded by Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), we have identified a T cell-attenuating role both for this protein and for CD200, a cellular orthologue of the viral vOX2 protein. In vitro, antigen-presenting cells (APC) expressing either native vOX2 or CD200 suppressed two functions of cognate antigen-specific T cell clones: gamma interferon (IFN-γ) production and mobilization of CD107a, a cytolytic granule component and measure of target cell killing ability. Mechanistically, vOX2 and CD200 expression on APC suppressed the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 mitogen-activated protein kinase in responding T cells. These data provide the first evidence for a role of both KSHV vOX2 and cellular CD200 in the negative regulation of antigen-specific T cell responses. They suggest that KSHV has evolved to harness the host CD200-based mechanism of attenuation of T cell responses to facilitate virus persistence and dissemination within the infected individual. Moreover, our studies define a new paradigm in immune modulation by viruses: the provision of a negative costimulatory signal to T cells by a virus-encoded orthologue of CD200.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6246-6257
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

Bibliographical note

This work was funded by grants to D.J.B. from the Medical Research Council (MRC; G0400408), BBSRC (BBS/B/14442), and CR UK (C7934) and to D.J.B. and A.D.H. from the MRC (G0800154). A.D.H. is supported by an MRC personal fellowship (G0501074).
We thank M. Rowe and J. Zuo for helpful comments and reagents.
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, the decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


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