News Releases & Research Results Discovery of a pathogen sensor protein that detects influenza virus in the airway epithelial tissue

News Releases & Research Results


Results of a joint study by the research groups of Assistant Professor Atsushi Kawaguchi, Researcher Sangjoon Lee, and President Kyosuke Nagata of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Tsukuba, and Professor Masayuki Noguchi of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Tsukuba, and Professor Peter Staeheli and Professor Martin Schwemmle of the University of Freiburg in Germany.

Key points of research results

  • Although the airway epithelial tissue first detects viral infection and induces a defense response, the molecular mechanism by which it recognizes viral infection remains unclear.
  • In the study, the “MxA” protein was successfully identified as the center molecule of a pathogen through the exploration of a sensor molecule using a human-derived airway epithelial cell line.
  • In addition, the “MxA” protein was demonstrated to induce a defense response in the early stage of influenza virus infection and suppress viral growth.
  • The results should contribute to the elucidation of the developmental mechanism of new influenza viruses.

This research was conducted with the support of Research Program on Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases by AMED.

The results of research were published on October 25 in Science Immunology.


Sangjoon Lee, et al. Influenza restriction factor MxA functions as inflammasome sensor in the respiratory epithelium Science Immunology


Last updated 10/26/19