Effective natural killer (NK) cell recognition of murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV)-infected cells depends on binding of the Ly49H NK cell activation receptor to the m157 viral glycoprotein. Here we addressed the immunological consequences of variation in m157 sequence and function. We found that most strains of MCMV possess forms of m157 that evade Ly49H-dependent NK cell activation. Importantly, repeated passage of MCMV through resistant Ly49H+ mice resulted in the rapid emergence of m157 mutants that elude Ly49H-dependent NK cell responses. These data provide the first molecular evidence that NK cells can exert sufficient immunological pressure on a DNA virus, such that it undergoes rapid and specific mutation in an NK cell ligand enabling it to evade efficient NK cell surveillance.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 11 Nov 2003|