Following respiratory viral infection, regeneration of the epithelial barrier is required to preserve lung function and prevent secondary infections. Lung regulatory T (Treg) cells are critical for maintaining blood oxygenation following influenza virus infection through production of the EGFR ligand amphiregulin (Areg); however, how Treg cells engage with progenitors within the alveolar niche is unknown. Here, we describe local interactions between Treg cells and an Areg-responsive population of Col14a1+EGFR+ lung mesenchymal cells that mediate type II alveolar epithelial (AT2) cell-mediated regeneration following influenza virus infection. We propose a mechanism whereby Treg cells are deployed to sites of damage and provide pro-survival cues that support mesenchymal programming of the alveolar niche. In the absence of fibroblast EGFR signaling, we observe impaired AT2 proliferation and disrupted lung remodeling following viral clearance, uncovering a crucial immune/mesenchymal/epithelial network that guides alveolar regeneration.

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