Natural killer (NK) cells play a crucial a role in the control of infection and the elimination of malignantly transformed cells. NK cell activation can arise from receptor/ligand interactions between cell surface proteins expressed by NK cells and target cells. This latter form of NK cell activation, known as natural cytotoxicity, results from an altered balance of activating and inhibitory signals that are transmitted by an array of NK cell surface receptors
The projects centre broadly on the role of NK receptors in the control of HIV replication. It is well established that KIR receptors are grouped into activating and inhibitory sub-types that together dictate the cellular immune response. Yet, how these two receptor sub-types differ in terms of ligand recognition and coordinate signalling and how this plays out with regard to sensing and controlling HIV infection is unknown. We are interested in characterising these receptors at the cellular, molecular and atomic level.