NIH Research Festival
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.
Scientific Focus Area: Immunology
This page was last updated on Friday, March 26, 2021