Natural killer cells are innate immune cells that destroy virally infected or transformed cells. They recognize these altered cells by a plethora of diverse receptors and thereby differ from other lymphocytes that use clonally distributed antigen receptors. To date, several receptor families that play a role in either activating or inhibiting NK cells have been identified in mammals. In the chicken, NK cells have been functionally and morphologically defined, however, a conclusive analysis of receptors involved in NK cell mediated functions has not been available. This is partly due to the low frequencies of NK cells in blood or spleen that has hampered their intensive characterization. Here we will review recent progress regarding the diverse NK cell receptor families, with special emphasis on novel families identified in the chicken genome with potential as chicken NK cell receptors.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by DFG grants number GO489/5-1 and GO489/3-7.
- Leukocyte receptor complex
- NK cell receptor