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Trends Immunol. 2004 Dec;25(12):670-6.

Different checkpoints in human NK-cell activation.

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Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Largo Gerolamo Gaslini 5, 16147 Genova-Quarto, Italy.


After the discovery, in humans and mice, of inhibitory natural killer (NK) receptors specific for MHC class I molecules, the mechanism by which NK cells kill tumor or virus-infected cells was thought to be clarified: NK cells would kill those target cells that have lost, or underexpress, MHC class I molecules. However, a more complex scenario has recently emerged. For example, certain NK cells express insufficient amounts of triggering receptors, and target cells can lack ligands for such receptors. Thus, it appears that the activation of NK cells and their potentially harmful effector functions are under the control of different checkpoints.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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