Frontiers in Immunolgy: Manipulating the NKG2D Receptor-Ligand Axis Using CRISPR: Novel Technologies for Improved Host Immunity (Blancafort)
The activating immune receptor natural killer group member D (NKG2D) and its cognate ligands represent a fundamental surveillance system of cellular distress, damage, or transformation. Signaling through the NKG2D receptor-ligand axis is critical for early detection of viral infection or oncogenic transformation and the presence of functional NKG2D ligands (NKG2D-L) is associated with tumor rejection and viral clearance. Many viruses and tumors have developed mechanisms to evade NKG2D recognition via transcriptional, post-transcriptional, or post-translational interference with NKG2D-L, supporting the concept that circumventing immune evasion of the NKG2D receptor-ligand axis may be an attractive therapeutic avenue for antiviral therapy or cancer immunotherapy. To date, the complexity of the NKG2D receptor-ligand axis and the lack of specificity of current NKG2D-targeting therapies has not allowed for the precise manipulation required to optimally harness NKG2D-mediated immunity. However, with the discovery of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) and CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins, novel opportunities have arisen in the realm of locus-specific gene editing and regulation. Here, we give a brief overview of the NKG2D receptor-ligand axis in humans and discuss the levels at which NKG2D-L are regulated and dysregulated during viral infection and oncogenesis. Moreover, we explore the potential for CRISPR-based technologies to provide novel therapeutic avenues to improve and maximize NKG2D-mediated immunity.
Since 2004, UT Health San Antonio, Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute’s (Greehey CCRI) mission has been to advance scientific knowledge relevant to childhood cancer, contribute to the understanding of its causes, and accelerate the translation of knowledge into novel therapies. Through discovery, development, and dissemination of new scientific knowledge, Greehey CCRI strives to have a national and global impact on childhood cancer. Our mission consists of three key areas — research, clinical, and education.