Walter, Lutz, Prof. Dr.

Head of Department of Primate Genetics at the German Primate Center

  • Dr. rer. nat. (PhD), University of Göttingen, 1994
  • Postdoctoral fellow and group leader at the Division of Immunogenetics, University of Göttingen, 1994-2004
  • Head of Department of Primate Genetics, German Primate Center, Göttingen, since 2004
  • Habilitation (Immunology and Immunogenetics), Medical Faculty of the University of Göttingen, 2005
  • apl Professor, Medical Faculty of the University of Göttingen, 2009

Major Research Interests

Natural killer (NK) cells belong to the lymphocyte lineage and represent an essential part of the innate immune system. NK cells can kill other cells and secrete substantial amounts of cytokines. Signals from activating and inhibitory NK cell receptors are integrated and regulate the activity of NK cells. Typical targets for NK cell killing are virus-infected or malignant cells, which both frequently reveal changed patterns of ligand expression on their cell surface. Such changes are recognised by NK cells, leading to killing of virally infected or transformed cells. NK cells can also be activated by different stimuli during interaction with dendritic cells, leading to release of proinflammatory cytokines and anti-viral substances. Due to these properties, NK cells play also important roles in autoimmune diseases, transplantation, and reproduction. Certain NK cells were shown to possess immunological memory and are called adaptive NK cells. Our interests lie in biology and genetics of natural killer (NK) cells, including molecular biology and function of NK cell receptors, specific interactions of NK cell receptors and MHC class I ligands, regulation of NK cell activation, NK cell transcriptomics and the therapeutic use of NK cells.

A further focus of our research is genomics of nonhuman primates with phylogenetic, demographic, evolutionary, and bioinformatic analyses.

Methods: flow cytometry, cell culture and protein methods, next generation sequencing, various bioinformatic analysis tools.

Homepage Department / Research Group

Selected Recent Publications

  • Bennstein SB, Weinhold S, Manser AR, Scherenschlich N, Noll A, Raba K, Kögler G, Walter L, Uhrberg M (2020) Umbilical cord blood-derived ILC1-like cells constitute a novel precursor for mature KIR+NKG2A- NK cells. eLife 9:e55232
  • Rogers J et al. (2019) The comparative genomics and complex population history of Papio baboons. Sci Adv 5(1): eaau6947
  • Carbone L, Harris RA, Gnerre S, Veeramah KR, Lorente-Galdos B, Huddleston J, Meyer TJ, Herrero J, Roos C, Aken B, Anaclerio F, Archidiacono N, Baker C, Barrell D, Batzer MA, Beal K, Blancher A, Bohrson CL, Brameier M, Campbell MS, Capozzi O, Casola C, Chiatante G, Cree A, Damert A, de Jong PJ, Dumas L, Fernandez-Callejo M, Flicek P, Fuchs NV, Gut I, Gut M, Hahn MW, Hernandez-Rodriguez J, Hillier LW, Hubley R, Ianc B, Izsvák Z, Jablonski NG, Johnstone LM, Karimpour-Fard A, Konkel MK, Kostka D, Lazar NH, Lee SL, Lewis LR, Liu Y, Locke DP, Mallick S, Mendez FL, Muffato M, Nazareth LV, Nevonen KA, O'Bleness M, Ochis C, Odom DT, Pollard KS, Quilez J, Reich D, Rocchi M, Schumann GG, Searle S, Sikela JM, Skollar G, Smit A, Sonmez K, ten Hallers B, Terhune E, Thomas GW, Ullmer B, Ventura M, Walker JA, Wall JD, Walter L, Ward MC, Wheelan SJ, Whelan CW, White S, Wilhelm LJ, Woerner AE, Yandell M, Zhu B, Hammer MF, Marques-Bonet T, Eichler EE, Fulton L, Fronick C, Muzny DM, Warren WC, Worley KC, Rogers J, Wilson RK, Gibbs RA (2014) Gibbon genome and the fast karyotype evolution of small apes. Nature 513: 195-201
  • Albrecht C, Malzahn D, Brameier M, Hermes M, Ansari AA, Walter L (2014) Progression to AIDS in SIV-infected rhesus macaques is associated with distinct KIR and MHC class I polymorphisms and NK cell dysfunction. Front Immunol 5:600
  • Byrareddy SN, Kallam B, Arthos J, Cicala C, Nawaz F, Hiatt J, et al. Targeting alpha4beta7 integrin reduces mucosal transmission of simian immunodeficiency virus and protects gut-associated lymphoid tissue from infection. Nat Med. 2014 Dec;20(12):1397-400