Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antigen-specific leukocyte migration inhibition in infectious mononucleosis. II. Kinetics of sensitization against five EBV-encoded nuclear proteins and the latent membrane protein
The T cell-mediated immune response of infectious mononucleosis (IM) patients to five Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-determined nuclear antigens, EBNAs, and to the membrane antigen associated with growth-transformed cells (latent membrane protein, LMP) was measured by the leukocyte migration inhibition (LMI) assay. Two different antigen sources were used: extracts from cells that only expressed EBNA-1, EBNA-2, or LMP after transfection with the corresponding EBV-DNA fragment, and synthetic peptides deduced from the corresponding genes. Patients in the acute phase of the disease failed to respond to EBNA-1, -5, -6, and LMP, but became responsive during convalescence. The majority of the patients responded to EBNA-2 and/or EBNA-3 in the acute phase (9/15 and 12/15, respectively). The response to EBNA-2 and/or EBNA-3 in the acute phase (9/15 and 12/15, respectively). The response to EBNA-3 disappeared more often in convalescence than the response to EBNA-2: 6 of 15 patients were negative to EBNA-2 and 12 of 15 to EBNA-3 during recovery. In addition to its value in the assessment of host sensitization to virus EBV antigens, these studies and the derived hypotheses also provide certain predictions about the predominant antigen expression in the EBV-infected host under normal and pathological conditions that can be subjected to direct experimental tests.