Roles of the NKG2D immunoreceptor and its ligands

Nat Rev Immunol. 2003 Oct;3(10):781-90. doi: 10.1038/nri1199.


According to present concepts, innate immunity is regulated by receptors that determine danger levels by responding to molecules that are associated with infection or cellular distress. NKG2D is, perhaps, the best characterized receptor that is associated with responses to cellular distress, defined as transformation, infection or cell stress. This review summarizes recent findings that concern NKG2D, its ligands, its signalling properties and its role in disease, and provides a framework for considering how the induction of immune responses can be regulated by cellular responses to injury.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Mice
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily K
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / immunology
  • Receptors, Immunologic / immunology*
  • Receptors, Natural Killer Cell
  • Signal Transduction / immunology
  • Toll-Like Receptors


  • KLRK1 protein, human
  • Klrk1 protein, mouse
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily K
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, Natural Killer Cell
  • Toll-Like Receptors