Regulation of inhibitory receptor gene expression by Natural Killer cells

Natural Killer (NK) cells play an important role in the immune system: targeting and destroying tumour and virus infected cells that evade other branches of the immune system. Brian Wilhelm is striving to understand what regulates the ability of NK cells to distinguish between abnormal cells and healthy cells. While it’s known that receptors on NK cells enable them to distinguish between cells, there is little knowledge about the genetic mechanisms that direct the process. He hopes that the research on receptor genes will provide insights about how individual genes and sets of genes specific to NK cells are regulated. As well, the work may shed light on the role of receptor genes in developing blood disorders and also about the use of NK cells in immune-based therapies.