Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Nancy Bigley (Advisor), Cheryl Conley (Committee Member), Barbara Hull (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


In our current study the roles of natural killer (NK) cells in regulation of the acute phase of murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection were demonstrated. NK cells utilize perforin and gamma interferon to kill MCMV infected cells. Activation of NK cells is controlled by the balance between inhibitory and activation receptors and modulated by cytokines produced from the infected cells. Type I interferons are produced mainly by plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDCs). Type I interferons have a substantial role in enhancing NK cells cytotoxic activity and NK cells proliferation and maintain cell survival through STAT mediated signaling pathway. IL-12 produced by dendritic cells activates NK cells and natural killer T (NKT) cells. Natural killer T cells activate NK cells through IFN-Y production at early time during MCMV infection. These immune cells and their produced cytokines are critical to regulate MCMV infection and any disturbance of this activation will lead to impaired host innate immunity.

Page Count


Department or Program

Microbiology and Immunology

Year Degree Awarded