Antigen-specific NK cell memory in rhesus macaques

Nat Immunol. 2015 Sep;16(9):927-32. doi: 10.1038/ni.3227. Epub 2015 Jul 20.


Natural killer (NK) cells have traditionally been considered nonspecific components of innate immunity, but recent studies have shown features of antigen-specific memory in mouse NK cells. However, it has remained unclear whether this phenomenon also exists in primates. We found that splenic and hepatic NK cells from SHIV(SF162P3)-infected and SIV(mac251)-infected macaques specifically lysed Gag- and Env-pulsed dendritic cells in an NKG2-dependent fashion, in contrast to NK cells from uninfected macaques. Moreover, splenic and hepatic NK cells from Ad26-vaccinated macaques efficiently lysed antigen-matched but not antigen-mismatched targets 5 years after vaccination. These data demonstrate that robust, durable, antigen-specific NK cell memory can be induced in primates after both infection and vaccination, and this finding could be important for the development of vaccines against HIV-1 and other pathogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Vaccines / immunology
  • Animals
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism
  • Liver / cytology
  • Liver / immunology
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Receptors, NK Cell Lectin-Like / metabolism
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology*
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / immunology*
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Spleen / immunology


  • AIDS Vaccines
  • Receptors, NK Cell Lectin-Like