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Immunol Rev. 2008 Aug;224:98-123. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2008.00653.x.

The extended human leukocyte receptor complex: diverse ways of modulating immune responses.

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  • 1Immunology Division, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, Cambridge, UK.


The leukocyte receptor complex (LRC) and its extended region comprise a large set of genes encoding immunoglobulin superfamily (IgSF) receptors, interspersed with other loci. Although the external Ig-like domains of these molecules are related, they have evolved to bind a wide array of different ligands. Comparison of the organization and functions of the different receptors encoded in the LRC provides insight into their roles in immune recognition, their evolution, and their relevance to disease. In addition, these molecules provide classic examples of inhibitory receptors paired, side by side, with activating receptors that couple with adapter proteins, such as DAP12. Some of these activating receptors can be considered as bifunctional sensors that can perceive changes in the state of their ligands that favors an inhibitory rather than activating response, whereas other receptors have evolved different means, acting as transporters or even molecular chaperones to achieve immune repression. We briefly summarize the complement of receptors encoded in this region of chromosome 19 and discuss the many diverse and versatile mechanisms they have evolved to restrain immune responses.

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