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Do liver-resident natural killer cells capable of memory responses provide protection in malaria?

Thursday, September 17, 2015 — Poster Session III

3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
FAES Terrace


  • LM Thomas
  • A Molina-Cruz
  • C Barillas-Mury
  • EO Long


Natural killer (NK) cells participate in our immune responses to pathogens. The liver consists primarily of two subsets of NK cells – those that are resident to the liver and those that circulate through the liver. In addition to possessing innate functions, liver-resident NK cells are also equipped with the capacity to generate antigen-specific memory responses. In prior studies, the memory capabilities of liver-resident NK cells can control viral pathogenesis but the responses to other pathogens including the responses to parasites like Plasmodium remain unknown. From our data, mouse liver-resident NK cells respond to traditional NK cell stimuli and in a primary Plasmodium yoelii 17XNL infection. Additionally, mouse liver-resident NK cells can have hapten-specific memory responses in the form of contact hypersensitivity to sensitized antigens. Ongoing research is currently evaluating whether NK cells can mount memory-specific responses to Plasmodium that lead to sterile immunity and its implications towards an effective malaria vaccine.

Category: Immunology