KIR expression shapes cytotoxic repertoires: a developmental program of survival

Trends Immunol. 2002 Feb;23(2):71-5. doi: 10.1016/s1471-4906(01)02113-5.


We hypothesize a sequential program of expression of the leukocyte-receptor complex (LRC) in CD8+T cells, associated with cellular activation and the subsequent establishment of immune homeostasis through resistance to apoptosis. This program, which is consistent with the linear development of memory CD8+ T cells, represents an ordered expression of genes during differentiation, analogous to expression of the homeobox- or globin-gene clusters. Our model not only has implications for the development and maintenance of T-cell memory but also, relates to the formation of LRC repertoires in other cell types, particularly, the development of killer-cell Ig-like receptor (KIR) repertoires in natural-killer-cell precursors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Survival
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Receptors, Immunologic / immunology*
  • Receptors, KIR
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology


  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, KIR