Inhibitory killer immunoglobulin receptors and virus-specific adaptive immunity in humans


  • Dr Becca Asquith

    Imperial College London

Project summary

Killer immunoglobulin receptors (KIRs) are known to be associated with innate immunity, but the role of KIRs in adaptive immunity is virtually unknown. Dr Asquith has evidence that KIRs can modulate the adaptive response, with direct consequences for human health. She will now investigate the mechanisms underlying this modulation in viral infection using a combination of theory and experimental methods. She has three main aims: to investigate whether KIR2DL2 enhances T-cell survival in vivo during HTLV-1 and HCV infections; to determine new models to distinguish causality from correlation between KIRDL2 and lymphocyte survival; and to identify genes involved in KIRDL2-mediated enhancement. Dr Asquith will also assess whether inhibitory KIRs enhance adaptive immunity in two globally important virus infections. Specifically, she will examine whether KIRDL2 could be a predictor of the outcome of HIV-1 infection, and the impact of KIR genotype on the longevity of CD8 T-cell responses to yellow fever vaccine.