Delineation and Modulation of the Natural Killer Cell Transcriptome in Rhesus Macaques During ZIKV and SIV Infections.

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Natural killer (NK) cells are crucial regulators of antiviral and anti-tumor immune responses. Although in humans some NK cell transcriptional programs are relatively well-established, NK cell transcriptional networks in non-human primates (NHP) remain poorly delineated. Here we performed RNA-Seq experiments using purified NK cells from experimentally naïve rhesus macaques, providing the first transcriptional characterization of pure NK cells in any NHP species. This novel NK cell transcriptomic signature (NK RMtsig) overlaps with published human NK signatures, allowing us to identify new key signaling and transcription factor networks underlying NK cell function. Finally, we show that applying NK RMtsig to an unrelated rhesus macaque cohort infected with SIVmac251 or ZIKV can sensitively detect NK cell repertoire perturbations, thus confirming applicability of this approach. In sum, we propose this NHP NK cell signature will serve as a useful resource for future studies involving infection, disease or treatment modalities in NHP.





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Aid, Malika, Daniel R Ram, Steven E Bosinger, Dan H Barouch and R Keith Reeves (2020). Delineation and Modulation of the Natural Killer Cell Transcriptome in Rhesus Macaques During ZIKV and SIV Infections. Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 10. p. 194. 10.3389/fcimb.2020.00194 Retrieved from

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Roger Keith Reeves

Professor in Surgery

Formerly of Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dr. R. Keith Reeves is currently tenured Professor of Surgery at Duke University, as well as Director of the Division of Innate and Comparative Immunology and Head of Innovation Partnerships in the Center for Human Systems Immunology. He is also currently the Director of the Duke CFAR Developmental Core and Editor-in-Chief of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses. Over his academic career he has published extensively in the field of NK cell biology, providing some of the most comprehensive analyses of NK cells and innate lymphoid cells, including the first characterization of memory NK cells in any primate species.  Dr. Reeves’ research has been supported by NIH for over a decade by individual and consortia grants, and in addition to independent work, he collaborates as part of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) and the BEAT-HIV Martin Delaney HIV Cure Collaboratory.   Dr. Reeves has also served on multiple standing NIH study sections (HIV Immunopathogenesis and Vaccine Development), as well as on standing and ad hoc grant review committees for amfAR, the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation, the UK Medical Research Council and California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, among others.   Considered a global expert in NK cell biology, Dr. Reeves’ group continues to focus on cutting edge approaches to harness NK cells in the context of vaccines and antiviral therapeutics for HIV, CMV, HCV, influenza and SARSCoV2.

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