Klas Kärre

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Klas Kärre (born January 12, 1954 in Strasbourg, France) is a Swedish immunologist.

Kärre received his doctorate in 1981 at Karolinska Institutet[1] and is a professor of molecular immunology at Karolinska Institutet since 1993.

In the mid-1980s Kärre discovered one of the mechanisms for how cells of the immune system, natural killer cells (NK cells), identify their target cells and kill them.[2] The findings were that the NK cells are inhibited by a transplantation antigen, the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I, which prevents NK cells from killing their target cells. When MHC class I is removed from the target cells, they are killed by the NK cells. Kärre named this phenomenon "the missing self hypothesis".

Kärre became a member of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine in 2006 and its chairman in 2009.[3] In 2009, he was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.[4]

In 1998, he was presented with the William B. Coley Award.


  1. ^ Kärre, Klas (1981): On the immunobiology of natural killer cells: studies of murine NK-cells and their interactions with T-cells and T-lymphomas, Diss., Stockholm
  2. ^ Kärre et al., "Selective rejection of H-2-deficient lymphoma variants suggests alternative immune defence strategy", Nature, 1986 Feb 20-26;319(6055):675-8
  3. ^ The Nobel Committee 2009, accessed on September 29, 2009
  4. ^ Five prominent researchers elected to the Academy, press announcement from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2009-12-16

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