Report

Molecular Mimicry by Herpes Simplex Virus-Type 1: Autoimmune Disease After Viral Infection

Science  27 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5355, pp. 1344-1347
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5355.1344

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Abstract

Viral infection is sometimes associated with the initiation or exacerbation of autoimmune disease, although the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. One proposed mechanism is that viral determinants that mimic host antigens trigger self-reactive T cell clones to destroy host tissue. An epitope expressed by a coat protein of herpes simplex virus–type 1 (HSV-1) KOS strain has now been shown to be recognized by autoreactive T cells that target corneal antigens in a murine model of autoimmune herpes stromal keratitis. Mutant HSV-1 viruses that lacked this epitope did not induce autoimmune disease. Thus, expression of molecular mimics can influence the development of autoimmune disease after viral infection.

  • * Present address: Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104 USA.

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