A recent paper from the Ahmed lab has been chosen as a Spotlight Feature in the Journal of Virology. The paper, Interleukin-21 is a Critical Cytokine for the Generation of Virus-Specific Long-Lived Plasma Cells, appears in the July 2013 issue.
IL-21 Signaling Regulates Antiviral Humoral Immunity
Long-lived plasma cells that reside in the bone marrow constitute the cellular basis of durable antibody responses after acute viral infections. Rasheed et. al. (J Virol, 87(13):7737-46, 2013) provide insight into how these cells are generated by showing that interleukin-21 (IL-21) signaling is critical for the formation of long-lived plasma cells following an acute infection of mice with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, vesicular stomatitis virus, and influenza virus. This study highlights the importance of the cytokine IL-21 in humoral immunity to viruses and has implications for the development of viral vaccines.