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Annu Rev Immunol. 2013;31:163-94. doi: 10.1146/annurev-immunol-032712-100001. Epub 2013 Jan 3.

Control of human viral infections by natural killer cells.

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  • 1Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, Boston, Massachusetts 02129, USA.


Natural killer (NK) cells are effector cells of the innate immune system and are important in the control of viral infections. Their relevance is reflected by the multiple mechanisms evolved by viruses to evade NK cell-mediated immune responses. Over recent years, our understanding of the interplay between NK cell immunity and viral pathogenesis has improved significantly. Here, we review the role of NK cells in the control of four important viral infections in humans: cytomegalovirus, influenza virus, HIV-1, and hepatitis C virus.

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