Dr Joanna Groom and Ms Amania Sheikh
Original Published Date: 
Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Full article issued by the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.

ARC-supported researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research have identified a molecular switch that impacts immune responses to viral infections, and whether or not protective antibodies are produced.

The team also made the surprising discovery that the immune system protects against different viruses via distinct pathways. Their findings could lead to better strategies to develop vaccines for previously hard-to-prevent viruses.

The research, led by ARC Future Fellow, Dr Joanna Groom, and PhD student, Ms Amania Sheikh, published in the journal Cell Reportsidentified that the protein T-bet determines how the immune system responds to viral infections.

The T-bet protein enables immune T cells to distinguish between different viral infections, controlling whether or not protective antibodies are produced. Antibodies are an essential component of long-lived immunity to viruses, and this discovery could underpin the development of better vaccines to prevent viral diseases.

Photo credit: 

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researchers Dr Joanna Groom (R) and Ms Amania Sheikh (L) have led research identifying a molecular switch that impacts immune responses to viral infections, and whether or not protective antibodies are produced. Their findings could lead to better strategies to develop vaccines for previously hard-to-prevent viruses. Credit: The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.