Pathogenesis of Murine Coronavirus in the Central Nervous System
Mutation within virus-derived CD8 T-cell epitopes can effectively abrogate cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) recognition and impede virus clearance in infected hosts. These so-called "CTL escape variant viruses" are commonly selected during persistent infections and are associated with rapid disease progression and increased disease severity. Herein, we tested whether antiviral antibody-mediated suppression of virus replication and subsequent virus clearance were necessary for preventing CTL escape in coronavirus-infected mice. We found that compared to wild-type mice, B-cell-deficient mice did not efficiently clear infectious virus, uniformly developed clinical disease, and harbored CTL escape variant viruses. These data directly demonstrate a critical role for antiviral antibody in protecting from the selective outgrowth of CTL escape variant viruses.