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Nat Immunol. 2007 Dec;8(12):1337-44. Epub 2007 Oct 28.

Natural killer cell trafficking in vivo requires a dedicated sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor.

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  • 1Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy, Université de la Méditerranée, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U631, and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR6102, Marseille, France.


Consistent with their function in immune surveillance, natural killer (NK) cells are distributed throughout lymphoid and nonlymphoid tissues. However, the mechanisms governing the steady-state trafficking of NK cells remain unknown. The lysophospholipid sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P), by binding to its receptor S1P1, regulates the recirculation of T and B lymphocytes. In contrast, S1P5 is detected in the brain and regulates oligodendrocyte migration and survival in vitro. Here we show that S1P5 was also expressed in NK cells in mice and humans and that S1P5-deficient mice had aberrant NK cell homing during steady-state conditions. In addition, we found that S1P5 was required for the mobilization of NK cells to inflamed organs. Our data emphasize distinct mechanisms regulating the circulation of various lymphocyte subsets and raise the possibility that NK cell trafficking may be manipulated by therapies specifically targeting S1P5.

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