UT Southwestern Medical Center
New Avenue for Keeping Influenza in Check
One of the viruses that causes seasonal flu is called influenza A virus. This virus is transmitted from person to person through air droplets, for example through sneezing or coughing. The virus then enters the respiratory tract, where it encounters numerous different cell types. One cell type critical for controlling influenza virus is the alveolar macrophage. Without these cells, influenza causes severe disease. We will study how alveolar macrophages help keep influenza in check, and how genetic modification of alveolar macrophages affect the ability of influenza to cause disease. We will use mouse models in which we have genetically altered the alveolar macrophages so that they cannot be infected easily with the influenza virus. These studies have the potential to reveal new avenues for the development of anti-flu therapies.