NK cell activating receptors and tumor recognition in humans

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2006;298:175-82. doi: 10.1007/3-540-27743-9_9.


Natural killer (NK) cells have been known for many years as the lymphocyte subset characterized by the highest cytolytic potential against virus-infected and tumor-transformed cells. A surprisingly high number of surface molecules have been recognized that regulate human NK cell function. These include MHC-specific inhibitory receptors, which impair NK cells' ability to attack normal self-tissues, and activating receptors and coreceptors that allow them to recognize and kill transformed cells. The recent identification of some of the cellular ligands specifically recognized by these receptors/coreceptors contributes to elucidation of the mystery of the role played by NK cells in immune responses.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Models, Immunological
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Receptors, Immunologic / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Immunologic