The mechanisms of broad cross-protection to influenza viruses of different subtypes, termed heterosubtypic immunity, remain incompletely understood. We used knockout mouse strains to examine the potential for heterosubtypic immunity in mice lacking IgA, all Ig and B cells, NKT cells (CD1 knockout mice), or γδ T cells. Mice were immunized with live influenza A virus and compared with controls immunized with unrelated influenza B virus. IgA-/- mice survived full respiratory tract challenge with heterosubtypic virus that was lethal to controls. IgA-/- mice also cleared virus from the nasopharynx and lungs following heterosubtypic challenge limited to the upper respiratory tract, where IgA has been shown to play an important role. Ig-/- mice controlled the replication of heterosubtypic challenge virus in the lungs. Acute depletion of CD4+ or CD8+ T cell subsets abrogated this clearance of virus, thus indicating that both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells are required for protection in the absence of Ig. These results in Ig-/- mice indicate that CD4+ T cells can function by mechanisms other than providing help to B cells for the generation of Abs. Like wild-type mice, CD1-/- mice and γδ-/- mice survived lethal heterosubtypic challenge. Acute depletion of CD4+ and CD8+ cells abrogated heterosubtypic protection in γδ-/- mice, but not B6 controls, suggesting a contribution of γδ T cells. Our results demonstrate that the Ab and cellular subsets deficient in these knockout mice are not required for heterosubtypic protection, but each may play a role in a multifaceted response that as a whole is more effective than any of its parts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy