Immunity and Infection

Research group

Group Leader

Miguel López-Botet Arbona

The group integrates basic and clinical investigators from Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and Pompeu Fabra University (UPF, Our interest is mainly focused on the biology of human Natural Killer (NK) cells, involved in the innate immune response against infections and tumors. We originally reported that cytomegalovirus promotes a variable and persistent reconfiguration of the human NK cell compartment. We currently explore the nature of the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms, as well as the involvement in antiviral defense and their implications in different clinical settings (e.g. kidney transplantation, cancer, multiple sclerosis), developing collaborations with clinical teams.




Elisenda Alari Pahisa (Researcher)

Ramón Gimeno Martínez (Researcher)

José Enrique Martínez Rodríguez (Researcher)

Aura Muntasell Castellví (Researcher)

Elvira Munteis Olivas (Researcher)

Jordi Pou Sánchez (Researcher)

Laura Soria Guerrero (Researcher)

Michelle Ataya Fernández (PhD Student)

Mariona Cabo Ester (PhD Student)

Marcel Costa Garcia (PhD Student)

Aldi Pupulenku (PhD Student)

Gemma Heredia Díaz (Technician)

Mireia Llop Trujillano (Technician)

Antía Moreira Villanueva (Technician)

Sara Raquel Santana Hernández (Technician)

Andrea Vera Barrón (Technician)

Ana Zabalza de Torres (Technician)

Carme Sánchez Galiano (Research Assistant)


Main Publications

• Hauser SL, Bar-Or A, Comi G, Giovannoni G, Hartung HP, Hemmer B, Lublin F, Montalban X, Rammohan KW, Selmaj K, Traboulsee A, Wolinsky JS, Arnold DL, Klingelschmitt G, Masterman D, Fontoura P, Belachew S, Chin P, Mairon N, Garren H, Kappos L, OPERA I and OPERA II Clinical Investigators (...Martínez-Rodríguez JE...). Ocrelizumab versus Interferon Beta-1a in Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis. New Engl J Med 2017; 376(3): 221-234. IF 72.406. D1.

• Muntasell A, Ochoa MC, Cordeiro L, Berraondo P, López-Díaz de Ceiro A, Cabo M, López-Botet M, Melero I. Targeting NK-cell checkpoints for cancer immunotherapy. Curr Opin Immunol 2017; 45: 73-81. IF 8.384. D1.

• Giménez-Arnau AM, Curto-Barredo L, Nonell L, Puigdecanet E, Yélamos J, Gimeno R, Rüberg S, Santamaria-Babi L, Pujol RM. Transcriptome analysis of severely active chronic spontaneous urticaria shows an overall immunological skin involvement. Allergy 2017; 72(11): 1778-1790. IF 7.361. D1.

• López-Botet M, Vilches C, Redondo D, Muntasell A, Pupuleku A, Yélamos J, Pascual J, Crespo M. Dual Role of Natural Killer Cells on Graft Rejection and Control of Cytomegalovirus Infection in Renal Transplantation. Front Immunol 2017; 8: 166. IF 6.429. Q1.

• Muntasell A, Cabo M, Servitja S, Tusquets I, Martínez-García M, Rovira A, Rojo F, Albanell J, López-Botet M. Interplay between Natural Killer Cells and Anti-HER2 Antibodies: Perspectives for Breast Cancer Immunotherapy. Front Immunol 2017; 8: 1544. IF 6.429. Q1.

• Pupuleku A, Costa-García M, Farré D, Hengel H, Angulo A, Muntasell A, López-Botet M. Elusive Role of the CD94/NKG2C NK Cell Receptor in the Response to Cytomegalovirus: Novel Experimental Observations in a Reporter Cell System. Front Immunol 2017; 8: 1317. IF 6.429. Q1.

• López-Montañés M, Alari E, Sintes J, Martínez-Rodríguez JE, Muntasell A, López-Botet M. Antibody-Dependent NK Cell Activation Differentially Targets EBV-Infected Cells in Lytic Cycle and Bystander B Lymphocytes Bound to Viral Antigen-Containing Particles. J Immunol 2017; 199(2): 656-665. IF 4.856. Q1.

• Redondo D, Crespo M, Yélamos J, Muntasell A, Pérez-Sáez MJ, Vila JS, Vilches C, Pascual J, López-Botet M. Adaptive NKG2C+ NK Cell Response and the Risk of Cytomegalovirus Infection in Kidney Transplant Recipients. J Immunol 2017; 198(1): 94-101. IF 4.856. Q1.

• Holst-Hansen T, Abad E, Muntasell A, López-Botet M, Jensen MH, Trusina A, García-Ojalvo J. Impact of Zygosity on Bimodal Phenotype Distributions. Biophys J 2017; 113(1): 148-156. IF 3.656. Q1.

• Deza G, Bertolín-Colilla M, Pujol RM, Curto-Barredo L, Soto D, García M, Hernández P, Gimeno R, Giménez-Arnau AM. Basophil FcεRI Expression in Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria: A Potential Immunological Predictor of Response to Omalizumab Therapy. Acta Derm-Venereol 2017; 97(6): 698-704. IF 3.653. Q1.

Ongoing Research Projects

• Development of molecular tools to enhance NK cell-mediated ADCC responses elicited by trastuzumab against breast cancer

- Worldwide Cancer Research (15-1146)

- From 2015 to 2018

- Principal investigators: López-Botet Arbona, Miguel; Muntasell Castellví, Aura

• Targeting Natural Killer cells Against Cytomegalovirus

- Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (PCIN-2015-191-C02-01)

- From 2015 to 2018

- Principal investigator: López-Botet Arbona, Miguel

• Estudio del valor pronóstico en la Esclerosis Múltiple de un nuevo biomarcador asociado a la infección por citomegalovirus

- Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria. ISCIII (PI14/00177)

- From 2015 to 2018

- Principal investigator: Martínez Rodríguez, José E.

• A multicenter prospective strategy to improve the cure of high-risk acute leukemias by fostering a platform for on-time allogeneic therapy in patients without an HLA-identical donor

- Fundació La Marató de TV3 (20133231)

- From 2014 to 2017

- Principal investigator: Gimeno Martínez, Ramón


Participation in Research Networks

• Red Española de Esclerosis Múltiple (REEM)

- Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria. ISCIII. Subprograma RETICS. RD16/0015/0011

- Principal investigators: López-Botet Arbona, Miguel; Martínez Rodríguez, José E


Clinical Trials Signed in 2017

• Estudio aleatorizado, doble ciego, doble enmascarado, de grupos paralelos para comparar la eficacia y seguridad de ofatumumab frente a teriflunomida en pacientes con esclerosis múltiple que cursa con brotes

- Register: COMB157G2301

- Principal investigator: Martínez Rodríguez, José E

• Estudio en fase II aleatorizado, doble ciego y controlado con placebo sobre M2951 con un grupo de control activo, paralelo y abierto (Tecfidera) en pacientes con esclerosis múltiple recidivante para evaluar la eficacia, seguridad, tolerabilidad, farmacocinética y actividad biológica

- Register: MS200527-0086

- Principal investigator: Martínez Rodríguez, José E.

• Efecto de MD1003 en la esclerosis múltiple progresiva: estudio aleatorizado, en doble ciego y controlado con placebo

- Register: MD1003CT2016-01MS-SPI2

- Principal investigator: Martínez Rodríguez, José E.

• Estudio abierto de un solo grupo para evaluar la efectividad y la seguridad de ocrelizumab en pacientes con esclerosis múltiple remitente-recurrente en fase temprana

- Register: MA30143

- Principal investigator: Martínez Rodríguez, José E



• Pupuleku A. Characterization of cytomegalovirus-induced adaptive NK cells and the role of CD94/NKG2C receptor. Pompeu Fabra University

- Directors: López-Botet Arbona, Miguel; Muntasell Castellví, Aura

- Fecha lectura: 06/11/2017




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