Jacki Kornbluth, PhD

Saint Louis University (SLU)

My laboratory is working on the further characterization of natural killer lytic-associated molecule (NKLAM) and its role in immune function. NKLAM is a gene first cloned and identified in this laboratory. NKLAM protein is critical for tumor cell killing mediated by natural killer (NK) cells and plays a role in phagocytosis mediated by macrophages. We have generated NKLAM-deficient mice, which have reduced NK and macrophage activity. We are now working to define the role of NKLAM in NK cytotoxic function and macrophage-mediated phagocytosis of bacteria. The ability of NKLAM-deficient mice to fight viral and bacterial infections and tumor challenges will be assessed. NKLAM interacts with a novel protein, uridine cytidine kinase like-1 (UCKL-1). Our studies have shown that NKLAM ubiquitinates UCKL-1, leading to its degradation. Studies are in progress to further assess the role of UCKL-1 in tumor survival and/or apoptosis.