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T cell immunity to lytic proteins of herpesviruses is important in host control of infection. We have characterized the cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response to 5 human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) homologues of lytic proteins in HHV-8-seropositive individuals. HLA class I-restricted, CD8+ CTL responses to ≥1 HHV-8 lytic protein were detected in all 14 HHV-8-seropositive study subjects tested, with or without human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection, but not in any of 5 HHV-8-seronegative individuals. Seven of these study subjects with both HHV-8 and HIV-1 infection had greater anti-CTL reactivity to glycoprotein H (open-reading frame 22) than did the 7 study subjects infected only with HHV-8. Moreover, there was a strong, inverse correlation between HIV-1 load and glycoprotein H-specific CTL lysis in the study subjects infected with both viruses. CTL reactivity to HHV-8 lytic proteins may be involved in host control of HHV-8-related diseases, such as Kaposi's sarcoma.

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Journal of Infectious Diseases

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