Natural Killer Controls

Science Signaling  24 Jan 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 208, pp. ec32
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2002876

Cytolytic natural killer (NK) cells participate in both antimicrobial and antitumor immunity. Their responsiveness is tuned through signals received through a variety of inhibitory and activating receptors expressed on their cell surface. Narni-Mancinelli et al. now show that signaling through the activating receptor NKp46 paradoxically keeps NK cell responses in check. NK cells from mice with disrupted NKp46 expression were hyperresponsive to stimulation and better protected against viral infection. NK cell responses, which are part of the early response to infection, may thus need to be carefully tuned to ensure optimal initiation of adaptive immunity and formation of protective long-lived memory cells.

E. Narni-Mancinelli, B. N. Jaeger, C. Bernat, A. Fenis, S. Kung, A. De Gassart, S. Mahmood, M. Gut, S. C. Heath, J. Estellé, E. Bertosio, F. Vely, L. N. Gastinel, B. Beutler, B. Malissen, M. Malissen, I. G. Gut, E. Vivier, S. Ugolini, Tuning of natural killer cell reactivity by NKp46 and Helios calibrates T cell responses. Science 335, 344–348 (2012). [Abstract] [Full Text]