Andreas Wack group

Immune response to influenza

Seasonal influenza represents a constant burden to public health, and influenza pandemics caused by new virus strains pose a serious global threat. The influenza virus causes damage to the infected lung tissue and induces an immune response which is necessary to eliminate the virus but contributes to lung pathology. Which factors tip the balance between damage or death versus successful clearance of the virus with no long term damage is not completely known.

Our work aims to identify which features of the virus and host determine the outcome of disease. We focus on early events after infection, and in particular on the interface between the infected epithelium and the immune system. We have established a culture system of mouse airway epithelium and use this in co-culture with innate immune cells to dissect cellular cross-talk after infection with a variety of influenza virus strains. Complemented by in vivo studies, this approach will allow us to identify early events that pave the way for immune-mediated pathology or protection.

Mouse airway epithelial cultures stained with the tight junction protein ZO-1 (green) and the cilia constituent beta tubulin IV (magenta).

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