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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Distinct roles of CD4+ T cell subpopulations in retroviral immunity: lessons from the Friend virus mouse model

Savita Nair14, Wibke Bayer1, Mickaël JY Ploquin3, George Kassiotis3, Kim J Hasenkrug2 and Ulf Dittmer12*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Virology, University Clinics Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Hufelandstrasse 55, 45122 Essen, Germany

2 Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH, Hamilton, MT 59840, USA

3 Division of Immunoregulation, MRC National Institute for Medical Research, The Ridgeway, London NW7 1AA, UK

4 Immune Cell Development and Host Defense Program, Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA

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Retrovirology 2011, 8:76  doi:10.1186/1742-4690-8-76

Published: 26 September 2011

Abstract

It is well established that CD4+ T cells play an important role in immunity to infections with retroviruses such as HIV. However, in recent years CD4+ T cells have been subdivided into several distinct populations that are differentially regulated and perform widely varying functions. Thus, it is important to delineate the separate roles of these subsets, which range from direct antiviral activities to potent immunosuppression. In this review, we discuss contributions from the major CD4+ T cell subpopulations to retroviral immunity. Fundamental concepts obtained from studies on numerous viral infections are presented along with a more detailed analysis of studies on murine Friend virus. The relevance of these studies to HIV immunology and immunotherapy is reviewed.