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Immunology. 2005 Aug;115(4):433-40.

Paired immunoglobulin-like receptors and their MHC class I recognition.

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Department of Experimental Immunology and CREST Program of the Japan Science and Technology Agency, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.


The immunoglobulin-like receptors provide positive and negative regulation of immune cells upon recognition of various ligands, thus enabling those cells to respond properly to extrinsic stimuli. Murine paired immunoglobulin-like receptor (PIR)-A and PIR-B, a typical receptor pair of the immunoglobulin-like receptor family, are expressed on a wide range of cells in the immune system, such as B cells, mast cells, macrophages and dendritic cells, mostly in a pair-wise fashion. The PIR-A requires the homodimeric Fc receptor common gamma chain for its efficient cell-surface expression and for the delivery of an activation signal. In contrast, PIR-B inhibits receptor-mediated activation signals in vitro upon engagement with other activating-type receptors, such as the antigen receptor on B cells and the high-affinity Fc receptor for immunoglobulin E on mast cells. Recent identification of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules as the physiological ligands for PIR has enabled us to attribute various immunological phenotypes observed in PIR-B-deficient mice to the consequences of the absence of a balanced interaction between PIR and MHC class I molecules expressed ubiquitously. Thus, PIR-A and PIR-B constitute a novel and physiologically important MHC class I recognition system.

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