Dissecting Human NK Cell Development and Differentiation

  • Nicholas D. Huntington
  • Jean-Jacques Mention
  • Christian Vosshenrich
  • Naoko Satoh-Takayama
  • James P. Di SantoEmail author


Our understanding of human NK cell biology lags behind that of the mouse NK cell biology; this is in a large part because of the ethical and logistical restrictions to the access of healthy human lymphoid tissue and the experimental manipulation in vivo. Nevertheless, in-depth analyses in genetically modified mice have provided us with models for NK cell development, differentiation, and function that guide our thinking about the role of NK cells in immune defense. Collectively, mouse and human studies have unveiled a number of conserved transcription factors, cytokines, cell surface receptors, and associated signaling proteins that are essential for normal NK cell development. Still, human and mouse NK cells differ with regard to expression of several key cell surface receptors, kinetics of development, and frequency in adult lymphoid organs (Huntington ND, Vosshenrich CA, Di Santo JP. Nat Rev Immunol 7:703–714, 2007). Accordingly, the specific biological roles for NK cells in human immune responses remain poorly described. New preclinical animal models that allow the analysis of human immune system development in function may provide a means to further our understanding of the biology of human NK cells in vivo.


Haematopoietic Stem Cell Human Immune System Transporter Associate With Antigen Processing Lamina Propria Lymphocyte Lymphoid Tissue Inducer Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work is supported by grants from Institut Pasteur, INSERM, Ligue Nationale contre le Cancer, Human Frontiers Science Program, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, and a Grand Challenges in Global Health grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas D. Huntington
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jean-Jacques Mention
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christian Vosshenrich
    • 1
    • 2
  • Naoko Satoh-Takayama
    • 1
    • 2
  • James P. Di Santo
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Cytokines and Lymphoid Development Unit Institut PasteurParisFrance
  2. 2.Inserm U668ParisFrance

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