Major histocompatibility complex class I is downregulated in Marek's disease virus infected chicken embryo fibroblasts and corrected by chicken interferon

Alon M. Levy, Irit Davidson, Shane C. Burgess, E. Dan Heller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is a part of the immune system which presents epitopes of intracellular antigens on the cell surface. MHC molecules have receptor-ligand binding affinities with T lymphocytes, permitting the latter to detect foreign intracellular infectious agents. Some pathogens, such as herpesviruses, have developed strategies of evading the host response by MHC. This pressure on the immune system brought, in turn, improvements in the antigen-presenting pathway, for example through the effect of interferon (IFN), which can upregulate MHC expression. The main objective of this work was on the one hand, to determine the abilities of three strains of Marek's disease virus (MDV), a chicken herpesvirus, in interfering with the expression of MHC class I molecules in chicken embryo fibroblasts. On the other hand, we analyzed the ability of IFN to reinstate this important immune capability to the infected cells. Our results show that only an oncogenic serotype 1 strain of MDV (RB1B) was able to markedly decrease MHC class I expression, and that addition of IFN reversed this MDV effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-198
Number of pages10
JournalComparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2003
Externally publishedYes



  • Herpesvirus
  • Interferon
  • Major histocompatibility complex
  • Marek's disease virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • veterinary(all)
  • Infectious Diseases

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