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Expression of genetic resistance to an oncogenic herpesvirus at the target cell level


THE oncogenic potential of herpesviruses has been demonstrated in several species and herpesviruses have been strongly implicated as aetiological agents of various human neoplastic diseases1,2. The extreme heterogeneity of human populations makes genetic analysis of mechanisms of host resistance to neoplastic disease in man a difficult task. Another herpesvirus, Marek's disease virus (MDV), is the aetiological agent of a naturally occurring lymphoma of chickens, Marek's disease (MD) (for review see ref. 3). MD is the animal model for Burkitt's lymphoma of man in which the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been strongly implicated4. At least two loci are associated with resistance to MD: the major histocompatibility complex (MHC)5,6 and a non-MHC locus7. The mechanism of MHC-associated resistance may involve an active rejection of MD tumour cells5. We now report data which strongly suggest that non-MHC-associated genetic resistance is expressed at the level of the target cell for malignant transformation.

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GALLATIN, W., LONGENECKER, B. Expression of genetic resistance to an oncogenic herpesvirus at the target cell level. Nature 280, 587–589 (1979).

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