Marco Colonna, MD

Washington University in St. Louis (WU)

My laboratory studies the function of natural killer (NK) cells, dendritic cells (DC) and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDC) in innate immune responses.
NK cell, DC and PDC effector functions are regulated by a balance of activating and inhibitory signals transduced by a variety of distinct receptors. Our previous accomplishments in this field include identifying the human killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs). We also discovered the leukocyte immunoglobulin-like receptors (LILRs) as well as inhibitory and activating receptors that belong to the TREM family. We are actively pursuing the role of TREM-1 in sepsis and the function of TREM-2 in development of dendritic cells, microglia and osteoclasts.
PDC are bone marrow derived cells that specialize in the secretion of IFN-a and IFN-ß in response to DNA and RNA viruses. Presently, we are assessing the function of PDC during immune responses to infections caused by ssRNA viruses (Influenza) and DNA viruses (HSV-1 and MCMV).