Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 33627642
Link to DOI – 10.1038/s41467-021-21402-1
Nat Commun 2021 02; 12(1): 1282
Natural killer (NK) cells play a critical understudied role during HIV infection in tissues. In a natural host of SIV, the African green monkey (AGM), NK cells mediate a strong control of SIVagm infection in secondary lymphoid tissues. We demonstrate that SIVagm infection induces the expansion of terminally differentiated NKG2alow NK cells in secondary lymphoid organs displaying an adaptive transcriptional profile and increased MHC-E-restricted cytotoxicity in response to SIV Env peptides while expressing little IFN-γ. Such NK cell differentiation was lacking in SIVmac-infected macaques. Adaptive NK cells displayed no increased NKG2C expression. This study reveals a previously unknown profile of NK cell adaptation to a viral infection, thus accelerating strategies toward NK-cell directed therapies and viral control in tissues.