Immunology; Natural Killer Cells
Virology; Human Cytomegalovirus
One focus of our lab is to study the interaction of Natural Killer (NK) cell receptors with different MHC class I molecules. NK cells are regulated by a large repertoire of germline-encoded inhibitory and activating receptors. The function of most inhibitory receptors is well-defined. Inhibitory Killer Immunoglobin-like receptors (KIRs; KIR2DL1-3, KIR2DL5, KIR3DL1-3) are inhibitory receptors that recognize certain allotypes of HLA class I. However, the specific ligand and consequently the function of activating receptors remain mostly unknown, in particular activating KIRs (KIR2DS1-5, KIR3DS1). Our work explores possible ligands for KIR2DS1, -S2, -S4 and -S5 using human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) as an infection model.
The project is supervised by Prof. John Trowsdale and is in collaboration with Dr. Mark Wills at the Department of Medicine.