Three T cell clones derived from rabies virus-immunized BALB/c mice were analysed for specificity and function. The clones proved to be broadly cross-reactive by responding to different rabies virus isolates (PM, ERA, CVS, HEP) and other representatives of the genus Lyssavirus, like the Duvenhage-6 (DUV6) and Mokola (MOK) viruses. The clones detected three different epitopes: an epitope expressed on the matrix protein (M) shared by PM, HEP, MOK and DUV6 viruses (clone AA8), an epitope expressed on the M-protein shared by PM, ERA, CVS, HEP and MOK viruses (clone 35A) and finally an epitope expressed on the glycoprotein (G-protein) shared by PM, ERA, CVS, HEP and MOK viruses (clone BG2). Antigen recognition of all clones proved to be MHC-restricted and they all displayed the CD4+ CD8- phenotype. Intravenous inoculation of the T cells in syngeneic mice, which had been injected intracutaneously in the ear with HEP virus, resulted in a localized DTH reaction characteristic for TH1 cells. In vitro, the clones were able to provide help to rabies virus-primed B cells, resulting in the production of virus-specific antibodies directed against all the four structural proteins of rabies virus. Further analysis of this antibody response revealed that part of it was directed against antigenic determinants of the G-protein which induce virus neutralizing antibody.

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Viral Immunology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Bunschoten, H., Dietzschold, B., Claassen, I., Klapmuts, R., UytdeHaag, F., & Osterhaus, A. (1990). Rabies virus cross-reactive murine T cell clones: analysis of helper and delayed-type hypersensitivity function. Viral Immunology, 3(1), 41–53. Retrieved from