Grants awarded

Communication between immune and stromal cells is key to immunological memory within pathogen-infected tissues

Grantholder:

Dr Megan MacLeod

University of Glasgow

United Kingdom

Bugs that cause infection turn on immune cells. Some immune cells specifically recognise the bug and can remember what it looks like and where in the body it caused disease. If the same bug causes another infection, these memory cells quickly attack it. We call this immunological memory and it is what lies behind the success of vaccines.

We will study immune cells called CD4 T cells as they co-ordinate protective responses. We will investigate how influenza virus infection generates CD4 T memory cells in the lung, where they can quickly control the virus. We think that incoming immune cells, including CD4 T cells, talk with infected epithelial cells and fibroblasts that support other lung cells. We will test how communication between these cells supports prolonged changes in the tissue that improves immune protection to further ’flu infections.

Our findings will contribute to our knowledge about immunological memory which could inform the development of effective vaccines.