Crystal structure of the murine NK cell-activating receptor NKG2D at 1.95 A

Nat Immunol. 2001 Mar;2(3):248-54. doi: 10.1038/85311.


NKG2D, a homodimeric lectin-like receptor, is a unique stimulatory molecule that is found on natural killer cells,T cells and activated macrophages. The natural ligands for murine NKG2D are distant major histocompatibility complex homologs, retinoic acid early transcript (Rae1) and H-60 minor histocompatibility antigen. The crystal structure of the extracellular region of murine NKG2D reveals close homology with other C-type lectin receptors such as CD94, Ly49A, rat MBP-A and CD69. However, the precise mode of dimeric assembly varies among these natural killer receptors, as well as their surface topography and electrostatic properties. The NKG2D structure provides the first structural insights into the role and ligand specificity of this stimulatory receptor in the innate and adaptive immune system.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Crystallography, X-Ray*
  • Dimerization
  • Disulfides / chemistry
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Lectins / chemistry
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Mice
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily K
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Isoforms / chemistry
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Receptors, Immunologic / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Immunologic / immunology
  • Receptors, Natural Killer Cell
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Disulfides
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • KLRK1 protein, human
  • Klrk1 protein, mouse
  • Lectins
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • MHC class I-related chain A
  • MICB antigen
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily K
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, Natural Killer Cell