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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 863985, 13 pages
Review Article

Controlling Influenza by Cytotoxic T-Cells: Calling for Help from Destroyers

1Department for Molecular Biomedical Research, VIB, 9052 Ghent, Belgium
2Department of Biomedical Molecular Biology, Ghent University, 9052 Ghent, Belgium

Received 17 December 2009; Accepted 3 March 2010

Academic Editor: Zhengguo Xiao

Copyright © 2010 Michael Schotsaert et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Influenza is a vaccine preventable disease that causes severe illness and excess mortality in humans. Licensed influenza vaccines induce humoral immunity and protect against strains that antigenically match the major antigenic components of the vaccine, but much less against antigenically diverse influenza strains. A vaccine that protects against different influenza viruses belonging to the same subtype or even against viruses belonging to more than one subtype would be a major advance in our battle against influenza. Heterosubtypic immunity could be obtained by cytotoxic T-cell (CTL) responses against conserved influenza virus epitopes. The molecular mechanisms involved in inducing protective CTL responses are discussed here. We also focus on CTL vaccine design and point to the importance of immune-related databases and immunoinformatics tools in the quest for new vaccine candidates. Some techniques for analysis of T-cell responses are also highlighted, as they allow estimation of cellular immune responses induced by vaccine preparations and can provide correlates of protection.