University of Western Ontario - Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Microbiology and Immunology

Supervisor

Dr. Mansour Haeryfar

Delay of Publication

1

Abstract

Influenza A viruses (IAV) cause respiratory infections with potentially catastrophic consequences. Neutralizing antibodies towards surface proteins of IAV prevent reinfection. However, mutations in these proteins allow the virus to evade these antibodies. Enhancing cytotoxic T cell-mediated immunity has been proposed as an attractive strategy to combat flu. Recombinant human FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand (FL) is known to mobilize dendritic cells (DCs) in mice. Given that DCs are the most potent antigen-presenting cells, I hypothesized that their mobilization by FL will improve the CD8+ T cell response to IAV. Quantification of CD8+ T cell responses to IAV epitopes by intracellular cytokine staining revealed that FL treatment can indeed increase the frequencies and absolute numbers of mouse T cells specific for select IAV epitopes. Additionally, FL treatment increased the killing function of IAV-specific T cells. My results suggest that FL may exert a therapeutic benefit in the context of flu infection.