New findings into conquering influenza

January 29, 2013

Reseachers from the University of Melbourne and The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) have discovered a new protein that protects against viral infections such as influenza.

As spreads through the northern hemisphere winter, Dr Linda Wakim and her colleagues in the Laboratory of Professor Jose Villadangos from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, believe they have a new clue to why some people fight infections better than others.

The lab has been investigating the 'defensive devices' contained within the T-cells that are located on exposed body surfaces such as skin and mucosal surfaces to ward off infection. T-cells detect cells infected with viruses and kill them before the virus can reproduce within the infected cell and spread to other cells.

Researchers found these cells contain the protein IFITM3 and this makes them more resistant to such as Influenza. The findings have been published in .

"If we learn how to increase the number and longevity of T-cells expressing IFITM3, this could lead to improved vaccines that promote the generation of more resistant T-cells able to provide the greatest protection, for longer." Professor Villadangos said.

Dr Wakim said "We are currently trying to understand why some T-cells and not others express this protective molecule. Probably they encounter some form of (a cytokine, or a surface molecule) in the tissues where they lodge, which induces the expression of IFITM3. If we identify these , we may be able to include them in future vaccines."

Explore further: Genetics of flu susceptibility: Researchers find gene that can transform mild influenza to a life-threatening disease

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Monkeys in Asia harbor virus from humans, other species

November 19, 2015

When it comes to spreading viruses, bats are thought to be among the worst. Now a new study of nearly 900 nonhuman primates in Bangladesh and Cambodia shows that macaques harbor more diverse astroviruses, which can cause ...

One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed

November 14, 2015

UC Irvine Health researchers have developed a cost-effective one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Dr. Ke-Qin Hu, director of hepatology services, will present findings at the ...

Computer model reveals deadly route of Ebola outbreak

November 10, 2015

Using a novel statistical model, a research team led by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health mapped the spread of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, providing the most detailed picture to date ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.