Natural killer (NK) cells are central players in the vertebrate immune system that rapidly eliminate malignantly transformed or infected cells. The natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCRs) NKp30, NKp44, and NKp46 are important mediators of NK cell cytotoxicity, which trigger an immune response on recognition of cognate cellular and viral ligands. Tumour and viral immune escape strategies targeting these receptor-ligand systems impair NK cell cytotoxicity and promote disease. Therefore, a molecular understanding of the function of the NCRs in immunosurveillance is instrumental to discovering novel access points to combat infections and cancer.
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