Beckley K Davis Associate Professor of Biology


B.A. Biology  The Colorado College

Ph.D. Immunology  Baylor College of Medicine

Postdoctoral Fellow  Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



NLRs, novel proteins involved in immunity, inflammation and cell death:

Discrimination by the vertebrate host of molecular moieties derived from pathogenic insult requires the coordination of manifold systems of receptors and sensors that affect transcriptional and post-translational programs that are necessary for host defense and resolution of infection and inflammation.  Coordinately, pathogens have evolved mechanisms to counteract host surveillance and effector responses in a constant give and take in host-parasite interactions.  Coordination of recognition, initiation, and elaboration of signals results in resolution, whereas dysregulation results in disease.

Nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich repeat containing proteins (NLRs) are a recently discovered multigene family that is involved in vertebrate immunity and inflammation.  To wit, mutations in NLRs are associated with diverse genetic diseases characterized by either uncontrolled inflammation or immunosuppression.  Therefore understanding the molecular mechanisms of the pathways associated with these proteins is of great interest.  My interests are restricted to two known members of the NLR gene family (NLRP3 and NOD2) as well as a recently characterized member NLRC5.  Projects in my laboratory revolve around understanding how these proteins function in the vertebrate host:

·      Structure function analysis of NOD2 interactions with muramyl-dipeptide

·      High throughput screen of NLRC5 binding partners using yeast two-hybrid technology

·      Biochemical analysis of nucleotide binding in NLR proteins

·      In vivo role of NLR-related proteins in sterile inflammation

·      Toxin-dependent inflammasome activation 

Data derived from these projects will help further our understanding of the role of NLR proteins in host defense and disease pathology.  The field of NLR biology has become exceptionally competitive but immensely exciting.  Students with an interest in human diseases, immunology/cell biology and biochemistry are encouraged to contact me regarding potential independent research possibilities.


Deng M, Tam JW, Wang L, Liang K, Li S, Zhang L, Guo H, Luo X, Zhang Y, Petrucelli A, Davis BK, Conti BJ, June Brickey W, Ko CC, Lei YL, Sun S, Ting JP.TRAF3IP3 negatively regulates cytosolic RNA induced anti-viral signaling by promoting TBK1 K48 ubiquitination.   Nat Commun. 2020 May 4;11(1):2193. 

Davis, B.K. 2019. Derivation of macrophages from mouse bone marrow.  Methods Mol Biol. 1960:41-55. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9167-9_3

The Scaffolding Protein IQGAP1 Interacts with NLRC3 and Inhibits Type I IFN Production.  Tocker AM, Durocher E, Jacob KD, Trieschman KE, Talento SM, Rechnitzer AA, Roberts DM, Davis BK.  J Immunol. 2017 Oct 15;199(8):2896-2909. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1601370. Epub 2017 Sep 1. 

Wilson JE, Petrucelli AS, Chen L, Koblansky AA, Truax AD, Oyama Y, Rogers AB, Brickey WJ, Wang Y, Schneider M, Mühlbauer M, Chou WC, Barker BR, Jobin C, Allbritton NL, Ramsden DA, Davis BK, Ting JP.  Inflammasome-independent role of AIM2 in suppressing colon tumorigenesis via DNA-PK and Akt.  Nature Medicine. 2015 June 24 Epub

Davis BK, Philipson C, Hontecillas R, Eden K, Bassaganya-Riera J and Allen IC.  The Emerging Significance of NLRs in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 2014 Dec;20(12):2412-32.

Davis BK.  Isolation, Culture and Functional Evaluation of Bone Marrow-Derived Macrophages.  Mouse Models of Innate Immunity:  Methods and Protocols.  Allen, IC editor.  Methods in Molecular Biology vol. 1031 Humana Press 2013.

Davis BK. Evaluation of Classical, Alternative and Regulatory Functions of Bone Marrow-Derived Macrophages.  Mouse Models of Allergic Disease:  Methods and Protocols.  Allen, IC editor.  Methods in Molecular Biology vol. 1032 Humana Press 2013.

Pothlichet J, Meunier I, Davis BK, Ting JP-Y, Skamene E, von Messling V and Vidal SM.  Type I IFN Triggers RIG-I/TLR3/NLRP3-dependent Inflammasome Activation in Influenza A Virus Infected Cells. 2013 PLoS Pathogens 9(4).

Schneider M, Zimmermann AG, Roberts RA, Zhang L, Swanson KV, Wen H, Davis BK, Allen IC, Holl EK, Ye Z, Rahman AH, Conti BJ, Eitas TK, Koller BH, Ting JP. The innate immune sensor NLRC3 attenuates Toll-like receptor signaling via modification of the signaling adaptor TRAF6 and transcription factor NF-κB.    Nat Immunol. 2012 Aug 5.

Robbins GR, Truax AD, Davis BK, Zhang L, Brickey WJ, Ting JP.  Regulation of class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) by nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich repeat containing (NLR) proteins.  Journal of Biological Chemistry 2012 Jul 13;287(29):24294-303.

Mo JY, Boyle JP, Howard CB, Monie TP, Davis BK*, Duncan JA*.  Pathogen sensing by nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-containing protein 2 (NOD2) is mediated by direct binding to muramyl dipeptide and ATP.  Journal of Biological Chemistry 2012 Jun 29;287(27):23057-67 (*=co-contributing authors).

Allen IC, Wilson JE, Schneider M, Lich JD, Roberts RA, Arthur JC, Woodford R-MT, Davis BK, Uronis JM, Herfarth HH, Jobin C, Rogers AB, Ting JP-Y.  NLRP12 Suppresses Colon Inflammation and Tumorigenesis through the Negative Regulation of Noncanonical NF-kB Signaling. Immunity. 2012 May 25;36(5):742-54.

Roney KE, O'Connor BP, Wen H, Holl EK, Guthrie EH, Davis BK, Jones SW, Jha S, Sharek L, Garcia-Mata R, Bear JE and Ting JP.  Plexin-b2 negatively regulates macrophage motility, rac and cdc42 activation.  PLoS One 2011; 6(9):e24795.  Epub 2011 Sep 23.

Wang JG, Williams JC, Davis BK, Ting JPY, Jacobson K and Mackman N.  Monocyte-derived Microparticles Activate Endothelial cells in an IL-1β-dependent Manner Blood 2011 Aug 25;118(8):2366-74.

Jorgensen I, Bednar M Amin, V, Davis BK, Ting JPY, McCafferty D, Valdivia RH.  The Chlamydia protease CPAF regulates host and bacterial proteins to maintain vacuole integrity and promote virulence. Cell, Host and Microbe 2011 Jul 21;10(1):21-32.

Allen IC, Moore CB, Schneider M, Yu L, Davis BK, Scull MA, Gris D, Roney KE, Zimmermann AG, Bowzard JB, Ranjan P, Monroe KM, Vance RE, Pickles RJ, Sambhara S, Ting JPY.  NLRX1 interacts with TRAF6 and functions as a negative regulator of the innate immune response to Influenza A virus infection. Immunity 2011 Jun 24;34(6):854-65.

Gregory SM, Davis BK, West JA, Taxman DJ, Matsuzawa S, Reed JC, Ting JPY and Damania B.  Discovery of a viral NLR homolog encoded by KSHV that inhibits the inflammasome.  Science 21 January 2011: 330-334.

Davis BK, Roberts RA, Huang MT, Willingham SB, Conti BJ, Brickey WJ, Kwan M, Taxman DJ, Accavitti-Loper MA, Duncan JA, Ting JPY.  NLRC5-dependent activation of the inflammasome.  Cutting Edge at J Immunol:2011 Feb 1;186(3):1333-7.

Davis BK, Wen HT and Ting JPY.  The inflammasome NLRs in immunity, inflammation and associated diseases. Annu Rev Immuno 2011(29): 707-735: RIA Decmeber 30, 2010.

McNally RS, Davis BK, Clements CM, Accavitti-Loper MA, Mak TM, Ting JPY.  DJ-1 enhances cell survival through the direct binding of Cezanne, a negative regulator of NF-kB.  J Biol Chem 2011 Feb 11;286(6):4098-106.

Huang MTZ, Mortensen BL, Taxman DT, Craven R, Taft-Benz R, Keijek T, Fuller JR, Davis BK, Allen IC, Brickey WJ, Gris D, Wen HT, Kawula TH, Ting JPY.  Deletion of ripA alleviates suppression of the inflammasome and MAP kinase by Francisella tularensis J Immunol. 2010 Nov 1;185(9):5476-85.

Davis BK, Ting JPY.  NLRP3 has a sweet tooth. Nat Immunol. 2010 Feb;11(2):105-6. Review.

Ting JP, Lovering RC, Alnemri ES, Bertin J, Boss JM, Davis BK, Flavell RA, Girardin SE, Godzik A, Harton JA, Hoffman HM, Hugot JP, Inohara N, Mackenzie A, Maltais LJ, Nunez G, Ogura Y, Otten LA, Philpott D, Reed JC, Reith W, Schreiber S, Steimle V, Ward PA.  The NLR gene family:  a standard nomenclature. Immunity. 2008 Mar;28(3):285-7.

van Deventer HW, Ping Wu Q, Bergstralh DT, Davis BK, Ting JPY, Serody,JS.
CCR5 on pulmonary myofibroblasts facilitates migration and promotes metastasis via MMP9  Am J Pathol. 2008 Jul;173(1):253-64.

Lich JD, Williams KL, Moore CB, Arthur JC, Davis BK, Taxman DJ, Ting JP. Monarch-1 suppresses non-canonical NF-kB activation and p52-dependent chemokine expression in monocytes. J Immunol. 2007 Feb 1;178(3):1256-60.

Wanahita A, Davis BK, Hamill RJ, Goldsmith EA, Rodgers JR, Cook RG, Lamphear JG, Musher DM.  Clostridium difficile lacks detectable superantigen activity. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2006 Jul;47(2):275-7.

Conti BJ, Davis BK, Zhang Z, O’Connor W, Williams KL and Ting JP-Y.  CATERPILLER16.2 (CLR16.2):  A novel NBD/LRR family member that negatively regulates T cell function.  J. Biol. Chem. 2005 May 6;280(18):18375-85.

Ting JP-Y and Davis BK.  CATERPILLER:  A novel gene family important in immunity, cell death and diseases. Annu Rev Immunol. 2005; 23:387-414.

Wu H, Rodgers JR, Perrard X-YD, Perrard JL, Prince JE, Abe Y, Davis BK, Dietsch G, Smith CW and Ballantyne CM. Deficiency of CD11b or CD11d results in phenotypic changes in T cells leading to reduced staphylococcal enterotoxin-induced T cell response. J Immunol. 2004 Jul 1;173(1):297-306.

Doyle CK, Davis BK, Cook RG, Rich RR, and Rodgers JR.  Hyperconservation of the N-formyl peptide binding site of M3:  evidence that M3 is an old eutherian molecule with conserved recognition of a pathogen-associated molecular pattern. J Immunol 2003 171: 836-844.

Davis BK, Cook RG, Rich RR, Rodgers JR. Hyperconservation of the putative antigen recognition site of the MHC class I-b molecule TL in the subfamily Murinae: evidence that thymus leukemia antigen is an ancient mammalian gene.  J Immunol 2002 Dec 15;169(12):6890.

Ling P, Meyer CF, Redmond LP, Shui J, Davis BK, Rich R, Hu M, Wange R, Tan TH.  Involvement of Hematopoietic Progenitor Kinase 1 in T cell Receptor Signaling  J Biol Chem. 2001 Jun 1;276(22):18908-14.

Course Information

BIO 230: Cell Biology

BIO 353:  Immunobiology