Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren group

Natural killer (NK) cells are lymphocytes of the innate immune system. Our group has a long-term interest in exploring the molecular specificity and function of human NK cells in health and in different disease settings.

Much of our work is carried out in collaboration with other scientists at the Center. Focus is aimed at characterizing NK cells in peripheral blood and different tissues in healthy humans.

Another focus is aimed at characterizing NK cells in peripheral blood and different tissues during viral infections and cancer. We are also exploring human primary immunodeficiency syndromes in which NK cells are not functioning properly, in particular with respect to their cytotoxic function. Finally, we are also interested in using NK cells in settings of adoptive immunotherapy, with a primary focus on hematological malignancies.

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

Members

Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren, Group leader, Professor 
Monika Braun
Eliisa Kekäläinen
Stephanie Wood
Kim Blom
Samuel Chiang Cern Cher
Sebastian Luneman, PhD student
Jenny Mjösberg

Projects

Our group have a long term interest in exploring the molecular specificity and function of human NK cells in health and in various disease settings. A particular focus is directed towards NK cells in human viral infections and cancer, as well as in primary immunodeficiency syndromes. We are also interested in using NK cells in settings of adoptive immunotherapy, with a primary focus on hematological maligancies.

Financial support

  • Swedish Research Council
  • Swedish Cancer Society
  • Tobias Foundation
  • Stockholm County Council
  • Karolinska Institutet

Selected publications

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