Interferon-gamma modulation of the local T cell response to alphavirus encephalomyelitis

Victoria K. Baxter, Diane E. Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Infection of mice with Sindbis virus (SINV) provides a model for examining the role of the immune response to alphavirus infection of the central nervous system (CNS). Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) is an important component of this response, and we show that SINV-infected differentiated neurons respond to IFN-γ in vitro by induction of antiviral genes and suppression of virus replication. To determine the in vivo effects of IFN-γ on SINV clearance and T cell responses, C57BL/6 mice lacking IFN-γ or IFN-γ receptor-1 were compared to wild-type (WT) mice after intracranial SINV infection. In WT mice, IFN-γ was first produced in the CNS by natural killer cells and then by CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Mice with impaired IFN-γ signaling initiated clearance of viral RNA earlier than WT mice associated with CNS entry of more granzyme B-producing CD8+ T cells. However, these mice established fewer CD8+ tissue-resident memory T (TRM) cells and were more likely to experience reactivation of viral RNA synthesis late after infection. Therefore, IFN-γ suppresses the local development of granzyme B-expressing CD8+ T cells and slows viral RNA clearance but promotes CD8+ TRM cell establishment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • Granzyme B
  • Interferon-gamma
  • NK cells
  • Sindbis virus
  • T cells
  • Viral RNA clearance
  • Viral encephalomyelitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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