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Trends Immunol. 2002 Feb;23(2):71-5.

KIR expression shapes cytotoxic repertoires: a developmental program of survival.

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Nuffield Dept of Surgery, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, UK.


We hypothesize a sequential program of expression of the leukocyte-receptor complex (LRC) in CD8+T cells, associated with cellular activation and the subsequent establishment of immune homeostasis through resistance to apoptosis. This program, which is consistent with the linear development of memory CD8+ T cells, represents an ordered expression of genes during differentiation, analogous to expression of the homeobox- or globin-gene clusters. Our model not only has implications for the development and maintenance of T-cell memory but also, relates to the formation of LRC repertoires in other cell types, particularly, the development of killer-cell Ig-like receptor (KIR) repertoires in natural-killer-cell precursors.

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