Modelling cross-reactivity and memory in the cellular adaptive immune response to influenza infection in the host

Ada W.C. Yan, Pengxing Cao, Jane M. Heffernan, Jodie McVernon, Kylie M. Quinn, Nicole L. La Gruta, Karen L. Laurie, James M. McCaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The cellular adaptive immune response plays a key role in resolving influenza infection. Experiments where individuals are successively infected with different strains within a short timeframe provide insight into the underlying viral dynamics and the role of a cross-reactive immune response in resolving an acute infection. We construct a mathematical model of within-host influenza viral dynamics including three possible factors which determine the strength of the cross-reactive cellular adaptive immune response: the initial naive T cell number, the avidity of the interaction between T cells and the epitopes presented by infected cells, and the epitope abundance per infected cell. Our model explains the experimentally observed shortening of a second infection when cross-reactivity is present, and shows that memory in the cellular adaptive immune response is necessary to protect against a second infection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-49
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2017


  • Cytotoxic T lymphocyte
  • Immunology
  • Mathematical model
  • Viral dynamics

Cite this