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The vaccinia virus (VACV) N1 protein is an intracellular virulence factor that has a Bcl-2-like structure and inhibits both apoptosis and signalling from the interleukin 1 receptor, leading to nuclear factor kappa B activation. Here, we investigated the immune response to intranasal infection with a virus lacking the N1L gene (vΔN1L) compared with control viruses expressing N1L. Data presented show that deletion of N1L did not affect the proportion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells infiltrating the lungs or the cytotoxic T-cell activity of these cells. However, vΔN1L induced an increased local natural killer cell activity between days 4 and 6 post-infection. In addition, in the absence of N1 the host inflammatory infiltrate was characterized by a reduced proportion of lymphocytes bearing the early activation marker CD69. Notably, there was a good correlation between the level of CD69 expression and weight loss. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of General Virology


Microbiology Society

Publication Date





2877 - 2881