What can we learn about influenza infection and vaccination from transcriptomics?

Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2019;15(11):2615-2623. doi: 10.1080/21645515.2019.1608744. Epub 2019 May 22.


Transcriptomics studies the set of RNA transcripts produced by the genome using high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics. This growing field has revolutionized our understanding of host-pathogen interactions, revealing new insights into the host response to influenza infection and vaccination. Studies using transcriptomics have identified a unique immunosignature for influenza discernable from other bacterial and viral pathogens, key transcriptional factors that discriminate early from late, mild versus severe, and symptomatic versus asymptomatic infection. Recent studies evaluating the host response to influenza vaccines have revealed key differences in live versus inactivated influenza vaccines, identified early transcriptional signatures that predict hemagglutinin antibody production following vaccination, increased our understanding of how adjuvants enhance the immune response to influenza vaccine antigens, and demonstrate biologic variability in the response to vaccination due to host factors. These studies demonstrate the potential for influenza transcriptomics to be applied to clinical care, understanding the mechanisms of infection, and informing vaccine development.

Keywords: Influenza; biosignatures; immune profile; systems biology; transcriptomics; vaccination.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / genetics*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Humans
  • Influenza Vaccines / immunology*
  • Influenza, Human / immunology*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Transcriptome
  • Vaccination*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Influenza Vaccines