Encyclopedia of Signaling Molecules

2018 Edition
| Editors: Sangdun Choi


  • Simona SivoriEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-67199-4_564



Historical Background

NK cell function is finely regulated by a series of inhibitory or activating receptors. The inhibitory receptors, specific for major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules, allow NK cells to discriminate between normal cells and cells that have lost the expression of MHC class I (e.g., tumor cells). In the absence of sufficient signaling by their HLA class I-specific inhibitory receptors, human natural killer (NK) cells become activated and display potent cytotoxicity against cells that are HLA class I negative. This indicates that the NK receptors responsible for the induction of cytotoxicity recognize ligands on target cells different from HLA class I molecules. These receptors have been termed natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCR) and include NKp46, together with NKp44 and NKp30 (Bottino et al. 2000). A direct correlation exists between the surface density of NCR and the ability of NK cells to kill various target cells (Sivori et al. 1999...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale (DI.ME.S.) and Centro di Eccellenza per lo studio dei meccanismi molecolari di comunicazione tra cellule: dalla ricerca di base alla clinica (CEBR)Università di GenovaGenoaItaly