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Immunol Rev. 2006 Dec;214:239-50.

Natural killer cells in viral infection: more than just killers.

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  • 1Immunology and Virology Program, Centre for Ophthalmology and Visual Science, the University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia.


Innate immunity was believed originally to serve simply as the first-line defense against infection and malignancy, with adaptive immunity imposing specificity and ensuring that appropriate responses are mounted against chronic or reoccurring challenges. In this model of immunity, innate and adaptive immune responses are sequential, essentially non-overlapping, and interactions between components of each response limited or non-existent. Over the last 5 years, it has become increasingly evident that interactions between elements of the innate and adaptive immune systems are common. Indeed, it is now clear that the generation and maintenance of effective immunity require an extensive array of interactions between multiple components of the immune system. This review discusses recent advances in this area with particular emphasis on the role of natural killer cells in shaping the adaptive immune response to viral infection.

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