Rapid interferon independent expression of IFITM3 following T cell activation protects cells from influenza virus infection

James G. Bedford, Meredith O’Keeffe, Patrick C. Reading, Linda M. Wakim

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Interferon-induced transmembrane protein 3 (IFITM3) is a potent antiviral protein that enhances cellular resistance to a variety of pathogens, including influenza virus. Classically defined as an interferon-stimulated gene, expression of IFITM3 on cells is rapidly up-regulated in response to type I and II interferon. Here we found that IFITM3 is rapidly up-regulated by T cells following their activation and this occurred independently of type I and II interferon and the interferon regulatory factors 3 and 7. Up-regulation of IFITM3 on effector T cells protected these cells from virus infection and imparted a survival advantage at sites of virus infection. Our results show that IFITM3 expression on effector T cells is crucial for these cells to mediate their effector function and highlights an interferon independent pathway for the induction of IFITM3 which, if targeted, could be an effective approach to harness the activity of IFITM3 for infection prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0210132
Number of pages12
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2019


  • T cells
  • cytotoxic T cells
  • influenza viruses
  • interferons
  • influenza A virus
  • cell cycle and cell division
  • influenza
  • spleen

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