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Adv Immunol. 2011;109:45-85. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-387664-5.00002-9.

Transcriptional control of natural killer cell development and function.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The Cancer Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, USA.

Abstract

Natural killer (NK) cells play an important role in host defense against tumors and viruses and other infectious diseases. NK cell development is regulated by mechanisms that are both shared with and separate from other hematopoietic cell lineages. Functionally, NK cells use activating and inhibitory receptors to recognize both healthy and altered cells such as transformed or infected cells. Upon activation, NK cells produce cytokines and cytotoxic granules using mechanisms similar to other hematopoietic cell lineages especially cytotoxic T cells. Here we review the transcription factors that control NK cell development and function. Although many of these transcription factors are shared with other hematopoietic cell lineages, they control unexpected and unique aspects of NK cell biology. We review the mechanisms and target genes by which these transcriptional regulators control NK cell development and functional activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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