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Semin Immunol. 2000 Apr;12(2):139-47.

Signaling pathways engaged by NK cell receptors: double concerto for activating receptors, inhibitory receptors and NK cells.

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Centre d'Immunologie INSERM/CNRS de Marseille-Luminy Case 906, Institut Universitaire de France, Campus de Luminy, Marseille cedex 09, 13288, France.

Erratum in

  • Semin Immunol 2000 Aug;12(4):417.


Despite the absence of antigen-specific receptors at their surface, NK cells can selectively eliminate virus-infected cells, tumor cells and allogenic cells. A dynamic and precisely coordinated balance between activating and inhibitory receptors governs NK cell activation programs. Multiple activating and inhibitory NK cell surface molecules have been described, a group of them acting as receptors for MHC class I molecules. In spite of their heterogeneity, activating NK cell receptors present remarkable structural and functional homologies with T cell- and B cell-antigen receptors. Inhibitory NK cell receptors operate at early stages of activating cascades by recruiting protein tyrosine phosphatases via intra- cytoplasmic motifs (ITIM), a strategy which is widely conserved in hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic cells.

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