MD, Semmelweis Medical School, Budapest, Hungary
Interactions of viral gene products and host immune systems
I have started my career in molecular virology, and worked on a variety of DNA tumor viruses. Later, in the 1990s I have changed the focus of my work, concentrating on viral immunology and pathogenesis. The main goal of my studies in a broad sense is to understand how viral gene products and components of the host immune system (innate and adaptive) interact and contribute to control virus infections, and virus-induced tumors. For many years I have been studying the immunological control of murine polyomavirus (PyV) in mice, a natural host-virus model. Our report on T cell-independent IgG responses to PyV was the first to show that a virus infection can generate protective IgG to antigens which are chemically proteins, in the absence of T cells. More recently, we published the important observation that MyD88-mediated pathways are required for long-term antibody responses to PyV, as MyD88 knock-out (KO) mice have decreased serum IgG responses, greatly reduced long-lived plasma cell population in the bone marrow, and diminished memory B cell responses compared to wild type mice. These data suggest an essential role for the MyD88-mediated pathways in the generation of long-term humoral immunity. Presently our efforts are aimed to elucidate the signals/pathways in B cells, follicular helper T cells (TFH) and accessory cells that are essential for the generation and maintenance of life- long humoral immunity and the molecular mechanisms involved in these processes.