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: Study reveals insight into how key protein protects against viral infections

Related Stories

Study reveals insight into how key protein protects against viral infections

April 2, 2012
Scientists from the University of Utah School of Medicine have discovered that a mouse protein called IFITM3 contributes to the body's defense against some types of viral infections by binding to an enzyme responsible for ...

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

March 25, 2012
A genetic finding could help explain why influenza becomes a life-threating disease to some people while it has only mild effects in others. New research led by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute has identified for the first ...

Recommended for you

Two lung diseases killed 3.6 million in 2015: study

August 17, 2017
The two most common chronic lung diseases claimed 3.6 million lives worldwide in 2015, according to a tally published Thursday in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

New test differentiates between Lyme disease, similar illness

August 16, 2017
Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States. But it can be confused with similar conditions, including Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness. A team of researchers led by Colorado ...

Addressing superbug resistance with phage therapy

August 16, 2017
International research involving a Monash biologist shows that bacteriophage therapy – a process whereby bacterial viruses attack and destroy specific strains of bacteria - can be used successfully to treat systemic, multidrug ...

Can previous exposure to west Nile alter the course of Zika?

August 15, 2017
West Nile virus is no stranger to the U.S.-Mexico border; thousands of people in the region have contracted the mosquito-borne virus in the past. But could this previous exposure affect how intensely Zika sickens someone ...

Compounds in desert creosote bush could treat giardia and 'brain-eating' amoeba infections

August 15, 2017
Researchers at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have found that compounds produced by the creosote bush, a ...

New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes

August 11, 2017
Left untreated, malaria can progress from being mild to severe—and potentially fatal—in 24 hours. So researchers at the University of British Columbia developed a method to quickly and sensitively assess the progression ...

0 comments

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.