Scientific reports 2017 09 077(1) 10857 doi 10.1038/s41598-017-11313-x
Although it is well established that Influenza A virus infection is initiated in the respiratory tract, the sequence of events and the cell types that become infected or access viral antigens remains incompletely understood. In this report, we used a novel Influenza A/California/04/09 (H1N1) reporter virus that stably expresses the Venus fluorescent protein to identify antigen-bearing cells over time in a mouse model of infection using flow cytometry. These studies revealed that many hematopoietic cells, including subsets of monocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells, neutrophils and eosinophils acquire influenza antigen in the lungs early post-infection. Surface staining of the viral HA revealed that most cell populations become infected, most prominently CD45(neg) cells, alveolar macrophages and neutrophils. Finally, differences in infection status, cell lineage and MHC class II expression by antigen-bearing cells correlated with differences in their ability to re-stimulate influenza-specific CD4 T cells ex vivo. Collectively, these studies have revealed the cellular heterogeneity and complexity of antigen-bearing cells within the lung and their potential as targets of antigen recognition by CD4 T cells.