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Nat Rev Immunol. 2008 Apr;8(4):259-68. doi: 10.1038/nri2276. Epub 2008 Mar 14.

Evolutionary struggles between NK cells and viruses.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Cancer Research Institute, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143-0414, USA.


Natural killer (NK) cells are well recognized for their ability to provide a first line of defence against viral pathogens and they are increasingly being implicated in immune responses against certain bacterial and parasitic infections. Reciprocally, viruses have devised numerous strategies to evade the activation of NK cells and have influenced the evolution of NK-cell receptors and their ligands. NK cells contribute to host defence by their ability to rapidly secrete cytokines and chemokines, as well as to directly kill infected host cells. In addition to their participation in the immediate innate immune response against infection, interactions between NK cells and dendritic cells shape the nature of the subsequent adaptive immune response to pathogens.

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