Awndre Gamache Defends Thesis

April 24, 2020 by seg2z@virginia.edu

In January, Awndre Gamache successfully defended his thesis “Natural Killer Cell Recognition of Viral Infection: Paired MHC I Receptors Facilitate Viral Detection and Clearance.“ His work in Dr. Michael Brown’s laboratory focused on the role of MHC I receptors in regulating NK cell responsiveness to viral infection.  He identified an original role for the MHC I activation receptor, Ly49R, in NK cell control of murine cytomegalovirus(MCMV) infection. Additionally, he showed that in order for Ly49R+ NK cells to functionally respond to MCMV, they must coexpress a paired inhibitory receptor, Ly49G2. These receptors were shown to recognize the same MHC I ligand, and are thought to work in tandem to facilitate detection of MCMV infected cells. His work demonstrated for the first time that MHC I-specific inhibitory receptors act as main determinants of virus-specific NK cell responses in virus control.