Natural Killer (NK) cells are a specialized immune cell type that surveils tissues in search of cells that have become diseased, damaged, or even cancerous. To do so, NK cells use a number of sensors—such as NKG2D—to detect specific “danger” proteins that are produced on the surface of these abnormal cells. However, the development of therapies to target these NK cell pathways has been limited by our lack of detailed knowledge about how this complex sensing system works.
Therefore, Dr. Tubbs is developing a model of how NKG2D interacts with a variety of signaling molecules in order to improve our understanding of how their NKG2D-binding properties influence their function and the activity NK cells. Understanding how these proteins regulate NK cell activity will not only form the foundation for better therapeutic design, but may even form the basis of therapies in and of themselves to modulate NK cell function against tumors.
Projects and Grants
Impacts of NKG2D-mediated desensitization and soluble NKG2D ligands on anti-tumor NK cell function
University of California, Berkeley | All Cancers | 2020 | David H. Raulet, Ph.D.
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