Genomic Circuitry Underlying Immunological Response to Pediatric Acute Respiratory Infection

Sarah E. Henrickson, Sasikanth Manne, Douglas V. Dolfi, Kathleen D. Mansfield, Kaela Parkhouse, Rakesh D. Mistry, Elizabeth R Alpern, Scott E. Hensley, Kathleen E. Sullivan, Susan E. Coffin, E. John Wherry*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Acute respiratory tract viral infections (ARTIs) cause significant morbidity and mortality. CD8 T cells are fundamental to host responses, but transcriptional alterations underlying anti-viral mechanisms and links to clinical characteristics remain unclear. CD8 T cell transcriptional circuitry in acutely ill pediatric patients with influenza-like illness was distinct for different viral pathogens. Although changes included expected upregulation of interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs), transcriptional downregulation was prominent upon exposure to innate immune signals in early IFV infection. Network analysis linked changes to severity of infection, asthma, sex, and age. An influenza pediatric signature (IPS) distinguished acute influenza from other ARTIs and outperformed other influenza prediction gene lists. The IPS allowed a deeper investigation of the connection between transcriptional alterations and clinical characteristics of acute illness, including age-based differences in circuits connecting the STAT1/2 pathway to ISGs. A CD8 T cell-focused systems immunology approach in pediatrics identified age-based alterations in ARTI host response pathways. Henrickson et al. measure transcriptional alterations in blood CD8 T cells from pediatric patients with acute respiratory tract infections and correlate gene modules with clinical characteristics. This approach defines an influenza prediction signature that is effective across ages, revealing age-based alterations in genetic circuitry underlying host responses to influenza.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-426
Number of pages16
JournalCell reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018


  • CD8 T cell
  • gene expression
  • human immunology
  • influenza
  • rhinovirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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