Matthew T. Hufford
Ph.D. in Microbiology, Spring 2011
“Regulation of Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes Effector Function During Experimental Murine Influenza Infection”
Matthew’s thesis research focused on the regulation of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) effector function during murine influenza infection. He demonstrated that indeed CTLs could recognize infected respiratory epithelial cells and destroy the cells but that this T cell/target cell interaction did not lead to release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. By contrast, CTLs also interacted with influenza antigen displaying CD45+ inflammatory cells in the infected lung interstitium. It is this interaction that not only leads to destruction of the cells but to the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by the CTLs. He further demonstrated that this regulation of T cell effector activity is dependent in part on the presence or absence of co-stimulatory molecules on the targeted cell. These findings have important implications for the development of pulmonary inflammation /injury and “cytokine storm” during severe influenza infection.