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Heterologous immunity (HI) between RNA viruses and environmental allergens

Based on our results on the protective effect of an influenza virus infection against experimental asthma in mice, we are aiming to validate our hypothesis that heterologous immunity is a broadly applicable concept between several RNA viruses and environmental allergens.

Our work can be divided into the following six aim/work packages (see Fig. 2):

  • Extension of our investigations to other RNA viruses including rhinovirus (RV) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
  • Analysis of RNA virus-mediated cross-reactivity to a broad spectrum of other environmental allergens by means of related in silico analyses.
  • Analysis of T cell cross-reactivity at single cell level using an immunomics approach. This comprises TCR sequencing, tetramer staining, deep immune phenotyping by CyTOF, detailed flow cytometric analysis of memory cell subsets and functional assays including cytotoxicity and proliferation.
  • Testing of H1N1 cross-reactivity in human HLA transgenic mice in order to extrapolate from the mouse to the human immune system.
  • Study of T cell cross-reactivity in peripheral blood samples of healthy individuals before and after seasonal influenza vaccination (immunomics).
  • Investigation of cross-reactivity patterns among asthmatic patients pre- and post- influenza immunization. These experiments will guide the development of novel virus-derived peptide immunization, which will modify human immune responses to environmental and/or food allergens and ultimately lead to allergen tolerance.
Chrysanthi Skevaki

Figure 2: Aims to investigate the interaction between RNA viruses and environmental allergens.