Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren group

Our group has a long-term interest in exploring the function of human NK cells in health and in different disease settings including viral infections and cancer.

Natural killer (NK) cells are innate immune cells. Studies in our group include phenotypic and functional characterization of NK cells in healthy humans as well as in humans in the context of primarily virus infections and cancer. A particular interest is focused on the NK cell response to severe viral infections including flavivirus infections, such as infections by Denguevirus, tick born encephalitis virus and hepatitis C virus. A focus is also directed towards Bunyavirus infections causing severe hemorrhagic fevers, including, e.g., hantaviruses. In the case of human cancer, we are interested in using NK cells in therapeutic settings, in particular in the context of treating hematological malignancies such as myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukemia.

Keywords: NK cells, innate immunity, virus, cancer, hematology, immunotherapy

Financial support

  • Swedish Research Council
  • Swedish Cancer Society
  • Tobias Foundation
  • Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research
  • Karolinska Institutet

Selected publications

Naive Donor NK Cell Repertoires Associated with Less Leukemia Relapse after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.
Björklund A, Clancy T, Goodridge J, Béziat V, Schaffer M, Hovig E, et al
J. Immunol. 2016 Feb;196(3):1400-11

Polyclonal Expansion of NKG2C(+) NK Cells in TAP-Deficient Patients.
Béziat V, Sleiman M, Goodridge J, Kaarbø M, Liu L, Rollag H, et al
Front Immunol 2015 ;6():507

Diversification and Functional Specialization of Human NK Cell Subsets.
Cichocki F, Schlums H, Theorell J, Tesi B, Miller J, Ljunggren H, et al
Curr. Top. Microbiol. Immunol. 2015 Oct;():

Next generation partnerships in translational science and medicine: Partnerships between academics, big pharma, biotech firms, philanthropists and patients look set to change the way science advances.
Ljunggren H, Chien K
EMBO Rep. 2015 Oct;16(10):1246-9

High-resolution determination of human immune cell signatures from fine-needle liver aspirates.
Hengst J, Theorell J, Deterding K, Potthoff A, Dettmer A, Ljunggren H, et al
Eur. J. Immunol. 2015 Jul;45(7):2154-7

Cytomegalovirus infection drives adaptive epigenetic diversification of NK cells with altered signaling and effector function.
Schlums H, Cichocki F, Tesi B, Theorell J, Beziat V, Holmes T, et al
Immunity 2015 Mar;42(3):443-56

Cutting edge: identification and characterization of human intrahepatic CD49a+ NK cells.
Marquardt N, Béziat V, Nyström S, Hengst J, Ivarsson M, Kekäläinen E, et al
J. Immunol. 2015 Mar;194(6):2467-71

Specificity and dynamics of effector and memory CD8 T cell responses in human tick-borne encephalitis virus infection.
Blom K, Braun M, Pakalniene J, Dailidyte L, Béziat V, Lampen M, et al
PLoS Pathog. 2015 Jan;11(1):e1004622

Natural killer cells: biology, physiology and medicine - part 2.
Bryceson Y, Ljunggren H
J Innate Immun 2011 ;3(4):327-8

Selenite induces posttranscriptional blockade of HLA-E expression and sensitizes tumor cells to CD94/NKG2A-positive NK cells.
Enqvist M, Nilsonne G, Hammarfjord O, Wallin R, Björkström N, Björnstedt M, et al
J. Immunol. 2011 Oct;187(7):3546-54

Rapid expansion and long-term persistence of elevated NK cell numbers in humans infected with hantavirus.
Björkström N, Lindgren T, Stoltz M, Fauriat C, Braun M, Evander M, et al
J. Exp. Med. 2011 Jan;208(1):13-21

Familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis type 3 (FHL3) caused by deep intronic mutation and inversion in UNC13D.
Meeths M, Chiang S, Wood S, Entesarian M, Schlums H, Bang B, et al
Blood 2011 Nov;118(22):5783-93

NKG2D performs two functions in invariant NKT cells: direct TCR-independent activation of NK-like cytolysis and co-stimulation of activation by CD1d.
Kuylenstierna C, Björkström N, Andersson S, Sahlström P, Bosnjak L, Paquin-Proulx D, et al
Eur. J. Immunol. 2011 Jul;41(7):1913-23

Insights into NK cell biology from human genetics and disease associations.
Wood S, Ljunggren H, Bryceson Y
Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 2011 Nov;68(21):3479-93

Organ-specific features of natural killer cells.
Shi F, Ljunggren H, La Cava A, Van Kaer L
Nat. Rev. Immunol. 2011 Oct;11(10):658-71

Natural killer cells: biology, physiology and medicine--part 1.
Bryceson Y, Ljunggren H
J Innate Immun 2011 ;3(3):213-5

Longitudinal analysis of the human T cell response during acute hantavirus infection.
Lindgren T, Ahlm C, Mohamed N, Evander M, Ljunggren H, Björkström N
J. Virol. 2011 Oct;85(19):10252-60

Björkström, N. et al. Analysis of the killer cell immunolglobulin-like receptor (KIR) repertoire on human NK cells by polychromatic flow cytometry. Methods Mol. Biol. 612:353-364, 2010.

Functional analysis of human NK cells by flow cytometry.
Bryceson Y, Fauriat C, Nunes J, Wood S, Björkström N, Long E, et al
Methods Mol. Biol. 2010 ;612():335-52

NK cells expressing inhibitory KIR for non-self-ligands remain tolerant in HLA-matched sibling stem cell transplantation.
Björklund A, Schaffer M, Fauriat C, Ringdén O, Remberger M, Hammarstedt C, et al
Blood 2010 Apr;115(13):2686-94

Interferon-alpha-induced TRAIL on natural killer cells is associated with control of hepatitis C virus infection.
Stegmann K, Björkström N, Veber H, Ciesek S, Riese P, Wiegand J, et al
Gastroenterology 2010 May;138(5):1885-97

Reduced DNAM-1 expression on bone marrow NK cells associated with impaired killing of CD34+ blasts in myelodysplastic syndrome.
Carlsten M, Baumann B, Simonsson M, Jädersten M, Forsblom A, Hammarstedt C, et al
Leukemia 2010 Sep;24(9):1607-16

Expression patterns of NKG2A, KIR, and CD57 define a process of CD56dim NK-cell differentiation uncoupled from NK-cell education.
Björkström N, Riese P, Heuts F, Andersson S, Fauriat C, Ivarsson M, et al
Blood 2010 Nov;116(19):3853-64

CD56 negative NK cells: origin, function, and role in chronic viral disease.
Björkström N, Ljunggren H, Sandberg J
Trends Immunol. 2010 Nov;31(11):401-6

Infectious Disease Medicine