Viral Immunopathology Unit

Lab head: Professor Nicholas King
Location: Blackburn Building, Camperdown

Research conducted by this unit focuses on the immunobiology of cell membrane surfaces, with particular emphasis being placed on studying the processes which control cell membrane architecture and the modulation of cell surface molecules (specifically, those which are involved in immune cell interactions). Much of the work carried out in this laboratory concerns the flavivirus, West Nile Virus, which curiously brings about an increase in major histocompatibility, as well as increased antigen and adhesion molecule expression in mammalian cells following infection. For a virus, this is a seemingly suicidal action, because this increases the efficiency of the adaptive immune response. However it is clear that the adaptive immune response contributes to the pathogenesis of disease; that is, the anti-viral immune response causes immunopathology.

Infiltrating leukocytes in WNV encephalitis - their role in mortality

Primary supervisor: Nicholas King

Part of the response to WNV infection of neurones is an infiltration of leukocytes into the brain on day 5 after infection. In interferon-gamma gene knockout mice, this infiltration is much reduced. This suggests that the increased survival in these mice may be because a particular subset of leukocytes does not migrate to the brain. This subset may also be involved in attracting inflammatory macrophages (see above). The aim of this project is to examine these subsets in the brain in both the wild type and gene knockout mice and look at their cytokine and chemokine expression. This will tell us why an increased leukocyte infiltration is associated with increased mortality in the wild type mouse.

Discipline: Pathology
Co-supervisors: Iain Campbell