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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology

Impact factor: 3.698

ISSN Print: 1040-8401
ISSN Online: 2162-6472

Critical Reviews™ in Immunology

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevImmunol.2013010019
pages 15-39

T-Cell Immunity to Influenza A Viruses

Emma J. Grant
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Melbourne, at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Victoria 3010, Australia
Li Chen
Department of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medical Laboratory Science, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, PR China; Department of Biochemistry, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia
Sergio Quinones-Parra
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Melbourne, at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Victoria 3010, Australia
Ken Pang
Inflammation Division, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research, Parkville, Australia; Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia
Katherine Kedzierska
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Melbourne, at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Victoria 3010, Australia
Weisan Chen
Department of Biochemistry, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia

ABSTRACT

Influenza infection remains a global threat to human health. Influenza viruses are normally controlled by antibodies specific for the surface glycoproteins hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). Standard influenza vaccines are aimed at inducing these antibodies, but they must be administered annually and can be rendered ineffective since different strains circulate from year to year and vary considerably in their individual HA and NA profiles. Influenza-specific T cells have been shown to be protective in animal models and typically recognize the more conserved internal influenza proteins. Improving our understanding of influenza-specific T-cell responses, including immunodominance, specific epitope sequences, strain-related epitope variation, host/virus interaction, and the balance between immunity versus immunopathology, will be important to improve future T-cell-based vaccines, which promise broader strain coverage and longer-lasting protection than current standard vaccines.