Human adenovirus types 2 and 5 (Ad2/5) cause persistent infections in man. Ad2/5 infection of rodent cells induces increased susceptibility to NK lymphocyte-mediated lysis that is dependent on target cell expression of Ad2/5 E1A gene products. In contrast to infected rodent cells, Ad2/5 infection of human fibroblasts and epithelial cells does not result in increased susceptibility to either human or rodent NK cell-mediated killing, despite high levels of E1A protein expression. This functional inactivity of E1A gene products in Ad-infected human cells may contribute to adenoviral persistence by rendering the NK cell response to Ad-infected cells ineffective.

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