Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Immunol. 2008 May;9(5):495-502. doi: 10.1038/ni1581.

Up on the tightrope: natural killer cell activation and inhibition.

Author information

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 circulate through the blood, lymphatics and tissues, on patrol for the presence of transformed or pathogen-infected cells. As almost all NK cell receptors bind to host-encoded ligands, signals are constantly being transmitted into NK cells, whether they interact with normal or abnormal cells. The sophisticated repertoire of activating and inhibitory receptors that has evolved to regulate NK cell activity ensures that NK cells protect hosts against pathogens, yet prevents deleterious NK cell-driven autoimmune responses. Here I highlight recent advances in our understanding of the structural properties and signaling pathways of the inhibitory and activating NK cell receptors, with a particular focus on the ITAM-dependent activating receptors, the NKG2D-DAP10 receptor complexes and the CD244 receptor system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center