Mehrdad Matloubian, MD, PhD
A characteristic of many chronic infections and autoimmune diseases is accumulation of lymphocytes at sites of chronic inflammation. The goal of our research group is to understand the molecular principles that guide the organization and maintenance of these inflammatory foci, with an emphasis on the contribution of stromal cells to this process.
The model system utilized in our laboratory is infection of mice with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). LCMV is a small enveloped virus from the Arenaviridae family and its genome consists of two segments of single stranded RNA encoding only four open reading frames. The outcome of infection of its natural host, the mouse, depends on the strain of LCMV used. Infection of adult mice with the Armstrong strain results in an acute infection lasting 8-10 days followed by life long viral T and B cell immunity. In contrast, infection with other well characterized LCMV variants results in a chronic infection lasting 4-6 months with high levels of virus in most organs. Some of these strains also cause immunosuppression and lymphoid atrophy, whereas others do not. Our research will focus on trafficking of LCMV specific TCR transgenic lymphocytes in other organs during chronic infections and how the lymphocyte behavior is altered by innate and adaptive immune stimuli. In addition, alterations in lymphoid stromal cell function during acute and chronic infections will be characterized.