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Front Immunol. 2016 Jun 14;7:235. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2016.00235. eCollection 2016.

"Natural Regulators": NK Cells as Modulators of T Cell Immunity.

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Immunology and Virology Program, Centre for Ophthalmology and Visual Science, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia; Centre for Experimental Immunology, Lions Eye Institute, Nedlands, WA, Australia.


Natural killer (NK) cells are known as frontline responders capable of rapidly mediating a response upon encountering transformed or infected cells. Recent findings indicate that NK cells, in addition to acting as innate effectors, can also regulate adaptive immune responses. Here, we review recent studies on the immunoregulatory function of NK cells with a specific focus on their ability to affect the generation of early, as well as long-term antiviral T cell responses, and their role in modulating immune pathology and disease. In addition, we summarize the current knowledge of the factors governing regulatory NK cell responses and discuss origin, tissue specificity, and open questions about the classification of regulatory NK cells as classical NK cells versus group 1 innate lymphoid cells.


ILC; NK cells; adaptive immunity; immune regulation; viral infection

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