Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) is a recently discovered paramyxovirus that is a major cause of lower respiratory tract infection. hMPV causes repeat infections in children and adults and severe disease in older patients and individuals with underlying medical conditions. Mechanisms of hMPV immunity and pathogenesis are poorly understood and there are no licensed vaccines or therapeutics. The limited information available indicates that there are fundamental differences between hMPV and other paramyxoviruses, including respiratory syncytial virus. Accordingly, the central objective of the proposed research is to elucidate mechanisms of immunity to hMPV and define the contribution of host immune responses to disease. We propose three complementary specific aims to elucidate mechanisms of hMPV immunity and pathogenesis.
In Specific Aim 1, the role of antibody in protection and disease will be defined. B cell-deficient mice will be infected with hMPV and viral growth and lung pathology assessed following secondary infection. Passive serum transfer experiments will determine whether antibody is required for protection. The role of antibody- dependent cellular cytotoxicity in immunity and disease will be determined using NK cell-deficient mice.
In Specific Aim 2, the capacity of hMPV fusion (F) protein to mediate protection against reinfection will be determined. Mice will be immunized with F protein and challenged with engineered viruses encoding divergent F proteins. Immunized and challenged mice will be evaluated for respiratory disease and aberrant immune responses. These experiments will test the hypotheses that hMPV F protein vaccines will not be associated with enhanced disease and that hMPV F protein is capable of inducing broadly protective immunity.
In Specific Aim 3, the contribution of T cells to hMPV immunity and pathogenesis will be defined. Naive T cell-deficient mice will be infected with hMPV, and viral replication and lung pathology will be assessed. T-cell-deficient mice will be inoculated with hMPV, allowed to clear infection, and rechallenged to determine the contribution of T cells to protection against secondary infection and lung pathology. CTL epitope vaccination and adoptive transfer of cloned MHC class I-restricted epitope-specific CD8+ T cell lines will be used to determine whether virus-specific CD8+ T cells contribute to pathology. Results of the experiments proposed in this application will reveal mechanisms by which host immunity can lead to both resolution of infection and immunopathogenesis. These findings will advance knowledge of hMPV immunopathology, guide the development of hMPV therapeutics and vaccines, and have broad applicability to other respiratory viruses.

Public Health Relevance

The goal of this project is to define mechanisms of host immunity to human metapneumovirus (hMPV). hMPV is a recently discovered paramyxovirus that is a leading cause of lower respiratory tract disease in children worldwide. The knowledge gained from these experiments will be essential to develop safe and effective vaccines and therapeutics for HMPV. Further, the results of this work will increase our understanding of how interactions between respiratory viruses and the immune system contribute to disease and protection.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Vaccines Against Microbial Diseases (VMD)
Program Officer
Kim, Sonnie
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Erickson, John J; Rogers, Meredith C; Tollefson, Sharon J et al. (2016) Multiple Inhibitory Pathways Contribute to Lung CD8+ T Cell Impairment and Protect against Immunopathology during Acute Viral Respiratory Infection. J Immunol 197:233-43
Gilchuk, Pavlo; Hill, Timothy M; Guy, Clifford et al. (2016) A Distinct Lung-Interstitium-Resident Memory CD8(+) T Cell Subset Confers Enhanced Protection to Lower Respiratory Tract Infection. Cell Rep 16:1800-9
Hastings, Andrew K; Amato, Katherine R; Wen, Sherry C et al. (2016) Human metapneumovirus small hydrophobic (SH) protein downregulates type I IFN pathway signaling by affecting STAT1 expression and phosphorylation. Virology 494:248-56
Hastings, Andrew K; Gilchuk, Pavlo; Joyce, Sebastian et al. (2016) Novel HLA-A2-restricted human metapneumovirus epitopes reduce viral titers in mice and are recognized by human T cells. Vaccine 34:2663-70
Schuster, Jennifer E; Cox, Reagan G; Hastings, Andrew K et al. (2015) A broadly neutralizing human monoclonal antibody exhibits in vivo efficacy against both human metapneumovirus and respiratory syncytial virus. J Infect Dis 211:216-25
Schuster, Jennifer E; Khuri-Bulos, Najwa; Faouri, Samir et al. (2015) Human Metapneumovirus Infection in Jordanian Children: Epidemiology and Risk Factors for Severe Disease. Pediatr Infect Dis J 34:1335-41
Erickson, John J; Lu, Pengcheng; Wen, Sherry et al. (2015) Acute Viral Respiratory Infection Rapidly Induces a CD8+ T Cell Exhaustion-like Phenotype. J Immunol 195:4319-30
Loria, Carolina; Domm, Jennifer A; Halasa, Natasha B et al. (2015) Human rhinovirus C infections in pediatric hematology and oncology patients. Pediatr Transplant 19:94-100
Wen, Sherry C; Williams, John V (2015) New Approaches for Immunization and Therapy against Human Metapneumovirus. Clin Vaccine Immunol 22:858-66
Hastings, Andrew K; Erickson, John J; Schuster, Jennifer E et al. (2015) Role of type I interferon signaling in human metapneumovirus pathogenesis and control of viral replication. J Virol 89:4405-20

Showing the most recent 10 out of 32 publications