The interaction between the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) is an important component of the host's resistance to viral infections and tumor formation. In this study, an avian leukosis virus (ALV) vector system, RCASBP, expressing MHC chicken class I (B-F) cDNA was used to develop target cells expressing the chicken class I glycoproteins complexed with ALV antigens on the cell surface. Peripheral blood from chickens inoculated with ALV was shown to contain antigen-specific, MHC-restricted, CD8+ effector CTLs, using a 51Cr release assay utilizing the RCASBP B-F target cells. The stimulated effector cells were also predominantly alpha beta T-cell receptor-positive (TCR2) T cells. The CTL response varied between two haplotypes of chickens which differed in their response to Rous sarcoma virus (RSV)-induced tumors. Chickens with the B21 haplotype which regress RSV-induced tumors showed maximal cytolytic activity, while chickens with the B13 haplotype which do not regress RSV-induced tumors had minimal to no cytolytic activity. In addition to assessing the CTL response to ALV, the creation of MHC-specific immortal target cell lines will be extremely useful in evaluating CTL responses to other viral disease in chickens
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