Influenza is one of the most common diseases worldwide, yet the vaccines against influenza are only 35% effective at protecting against infection. Creating a more effective vaccine requires an understanding of the foundation and the factors that contribute to a strong and protective adaptive immune response. T-bet [TBX21] is a transcription factor that plays an instrumental role in the orchestration of the type 1 immune response, which is the specialized response used by the immune system for a cell-mediated response against intracellular pathogens, such as influenza. It has yet to be explored in an influenza setting on the role T-bet in the production of antibodies. The aim of this study is to understand T-bet's role in production of antibody isotypes and identify whether expression of T-bet is more important for antibody production in T cells or B cells. We expected T-bet knockout (KO) mice to have IgG2a and that T-bet expression would be more important in T cells for antibody production. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to measure the amount of virus-specific antibody in T-bet KO versus wild type (WT) mice infected with influenza. The results show that the T-bet KO and WT mice have relatively the same amount of IgG and IgG1, but the T-bet KO have a significantly lower level of IgG2a, confirming T-bet's importance for its production. To distinguish the importance of T-bet expression while T-bet expression in T cells was constant, a model was developed to allow us to control expression of T-bet in B cells. The results however were inconclusive, and the experiment will have to be repeated to make a firm conclusion on the roles of lymphocytes in the control of IgG isotypes. Overall, these results indicate that the manipulation of T-bet expression can be used as a vector to control IgG antibody levels, which holds potential for the improvement of vaccines.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

McKinstry, Kai


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Medicine

Degree Program

Biomedical Sciences



Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Release Date