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Jie Sun, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Summary of the focus of the research of Dr. Sun

Cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) biology
Immune regulation during acute respiratory virus infection

Description and summary of your laboratory's research focus

CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) are crucial for clearing virus-infected or transformed cells. My lab is interested in the transcriptional regulation of CTL responses in infectious diseases and cancer. We have recently identified that the transcription factor IRF4 plays an essential role in sustaining robust expansion and proper effector differentiation of CTLs during acute virus infection. We are currently investigating the up- and down-stream signals/factors regulating the function of IRF4 during the development of effective CTL responses. We are also using various genetic, immunologic and pharmacologic approaches targeting IRF4 pathway to boost CTL responses during vaccination and cancer immunotherapy.

Another direction of my lab is to study host responses to influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), two major respiratory pathogens responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide yearly. Specifically, we have identified that several immune-regulatory factors, including IL-10 and PD-L1, play important roles in controlling the development of tissue injury and promoting fast host recovery from diseases. We are investigating the exact signals for the induction of these regulatory factors in the lung and identifying the downstream cellular and molecular targets of these factors in vivo during influenza or RSV infection. We are also interested in translating our knowledge gained in the basic immunological studies in “naïve” mice to address how acute viral infections exacerbate chronic lung diseases and why pre-existing chronic disorders enhance host susceptibility to acute respiratory virus infections.

Yao S, Jiang L, Moser EK, Jewett LB, Wright J, Davis SD, Krupp NL, Braciale TJ and Sun J. Control of pathogenic effector T cell activities in situ by PD-L1 expression on respiratory inflammatory dendritic cells during respiratory syncytial virus infection. Mucosal Immunology, In press. 2014.
Yao S, Buzo BF, Pham D, Jiang L, Taparowsky EJ, Kaplan MH and Sun J. Interferon regulatory factor 4 sustains CD8+ T cell expansion and effector differentiation. Immunity. 2013 Nov 14;39(5):833-45. PMID: 24211184. PMCID: PMC3855863. Article previewed by: Huber M, Lohoff M. IRF4 Provides Rations for Cytotoxic CD8(+) T Cell Soldiers. Immunity. 2013 Nov 14;39(5):797-9.
Jabeen R, Goswami R, Awe O, Kulkarni A, Nguyen ET, Attenasio A, Walsh D, Olson MR, Kim MH, Tepper RS, Sun J, Kim C, Taparowsky EJ, Zhou B and Kaplan MH. Th9 cell development requires a BATF-regulated transcriptional network. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2013 Nov 1;123(11):4641-53.
Hua L, Yao S, Pham D, Jiang L, Wright J, Sawant D, Dent AL, Braciale TJ, Kaplan MH and Sun J. Cytokine-dependent induction of CD4+ T cells with cytotoxic potential during influenza virus infection. Journal of Virology, 2013 Nov;87(21):11884-93. PMCID: PMC3807312.
Sun J and Braciale TJ. Role of T cell immunity in protection against influenza virus infections. Current Opinion in Virology. 2013 Aug;3(4):425-9. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2013.05.001.
Braciale TJ*, Sun J* and Kim TS*. Regulating the adaptive immune response to respiratory virus infection. Nature Review of Immunology. 2012 Mar 9;12(4):295-305. doi: 10.1038/nri3166.
Sun J, Cardani AN, Sharma AK, Laubach VE, Jack RS, Müller W and Braciale TJ. Autocrine regulation of pulmonary inflammation by effector T Cell derived IL-10 during infection with respiratory cyncytial virus. PLoS Pathogens 7(8): e1002173. PMCID: PMC3150291.
Sun J, Dodd H, Moser E, Sharma R and Braciale TJ. CD4+ T cell help and innate-derived IL-27 induce Blimp-1 dependent IL-10 production by anti-viral CTL. Nature Immunology. 2011 Apr;12(4):327-34. PMCID: PMC3079402. Article Highlighted by:  Nature Review of Immunology, 11, 157 (March 2011).  Hufford MM, Kim TS, Sun J and Braciale TJ. Antiviral CD8+ T cell effector activities in situ are regulated by target cell type. Journal of Experimental Medicine. 2011 Jan 17;208(1):167-80. PMCID: PMC3079402.
Sun J, Madan R, Karp CL and Braciale TJ. Effector T cells control lung inflammation during acute influenza virus infection by producing IL-10. Nature Medicine. 2009 Mar;15(3):277-84. PMCID: PMC2693210. Article recommended and commented by:  Belz GT. Life in the balance: killer T-cell self-control fends off lethal influenza? Immunol Cell Biol. 2009 Jul;87(5):364-5.

  • B.A., 1998: Sichuan University, China
  • M.S., 2001: Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine (now chinese CDC), China
  • Ph.D., 2006: University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • Postdoctoral Training, 2007-2010: University of Virginia, USA
  • Research Assistant Professor, 2010-2011: University of Virginia, USA

Department of Microbiology and Immunology | IU School of Medicine | 635 Barnhill Drive, MS 420 | Indianapolis, IN 46202 | (317) 274-0506