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Semin Hematol. 2005 Apr;42(2):65-75.

Complex interactions: the immunogenetics of human leukocyte antigen and killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors.

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Departments of Structural Biology and Microbiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, 299 Campus Drive West, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


The killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) for human leukocyte antigen (HLA) modulate innate and adaptive immunity by controlling effector cells. HLA and KIR are encoded in genomic regions that have complex organization and exhibit exceptional diversity within and among human population groups. This diversity is likely to have arisen to combat a constantly evolving pathogen challenge. Numerous variations influence the expression level or function of KIR molecules and can affect their interaction with HLA, with important implications for the immune response. The functional variety of natural immune responses that are controlled by HLA and KIR interactions is genetically determined and maintained by natural selection.

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