Peter Doherty first studied the pathogenesis of Semliki Forest virus infection in the mouse, then switched to the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) model which was a much more powerful tool for immunological analysis.
Zinkernagel wanted to work with R. Blanden on cell-mediated immunity against Salmonella and Listeria to learn more about the role of cell-mediated versus antibody-dependent immune effector mechanisms in these infectious disease models . But lack of space in the lab paired both of them.
Background In 1960-70s immunology was attempted to be understood in terms of infectious diseases. It was then Largely pre-occupied with antibody and T-cell responses against foreign protein antigens or chemically defined small molecules called haptens .
Antibacterial and antiviral T-cell mediated immunity and the capacity of immunized cytotoxic CD8+ T cells to destroy either virus infected or allogeneic target cells in vitro- was the work in progress at JCSMR.
Whether inflammatory cells in the CSF of mice infected intra cerebrally with LCMV were cytolytic in vitro and whether there was any correlation between cytotoxic T- cell activity and severity of choriomeningitis .
Lymphocytes and target cells interact mutually via TA. H-2k interacts best with H-2k in a symmetrical like-like complementarity.
This initmacy model was soon excluded by the F1-experiment showing virus specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes from heterozygote F1 mice consisted of at least 2 subpopulations-each being specific for infected H-2k and other for H-2b targets.
In 2 nd letter to the Nature -T-cells might function to survey the integrity of TA. Recognition of cell surface alteration due to virus infection ,chemical modification or genetic differences may be accommodated in the same model.
General hypothesis formulated in Lancet was that function of MHC is to signal modifications of self-MHC to the immune system.
Not know then , MHC molecules are recognized as complex with antigenic peptide.
By works of Unanue, Grey and others on class 2 antigens and Townsted works showed- class 1 molecules of the virus infected cells present peptides ,9-10 amino acids long to virus specific cytotoxic t cells. These peptides were later successfully eluted
As peptides from viruses, bacteria and parasites are presented to the MHC class 1 or 2 molecules it was suggested that instead of live potentially harmful peptides could possibly be used as vaccines to induce T- cell responses.
As antigenicity and immunogenicity are linked to MHC and correlate with different strengths of the T cell response, shows that different MHC molecules directly determine and regulate resistance to diseases.
1. Zinkernagel RM, Doherty PC. Restriction of in vitro T cell-mediated cytotoxicity in lymphocytic choriomeningitis within a syngenic and semiallogeneic system. Nature 248, 701- 702, 1974. 2. Zinkernagel RM, Doherty PC. Immunological surveillance against altered self components by sensitised T lymphocytes in lymphocytic choriomeningitis. Nature 251, 547-548, 1974. 3. Doherty PC, Zinkernagel RM. A biological role for the major histocompatibility antigens. Lancet, 1406-1409, 1975. 4. Zinkernagel RM, Doherty PC. MHC restricted cytotoxic T cells: Studies on the biological role of polymorphic major transplantation antigens determining T cell restriction specificity. Advances in Immunology 27, 51-177, 1979.