Human innate lymphoid cell maturation and functional refinement

Innate lymphoid cells (ILC), including natural killer (NK) cells differentiate at different rates in populations from distinct geographical settings. In our Gambian studies, rapid NK cell differentiation is strongly associated with a high prevalence of human cytomegalovirus infection whereas a high frequency of Type -2 ILC may well be associated with helminth infections. Phenotypic differentiation of NK cells accompanies profound changes in the functional capacity: they become less reliant on pro-inflammatory factors and are refined towards antibody-dependence for their activation. Data will be presented on the impact of the functional differentiation on the generation of ‘memory-like’ and ‘adaptive’ NK cells and on their responses induced by vaccines and by malaria parasites.