Cell biological steps and checkpoints in accessing NK cell cytotoxicity

Immunol Cell Biol. 2014 Mar;92(3):245-55. doi: 10.1038/icb.2013.96. Epub 2014 Jan 21.


Natural killer (NK) cell-mediated cytotoxicity is governed by the formation of a lytic immune synapse in discrete regulated steps, which give rise to an extensive array of cellular checkpoints in accessing NK cell-mediated cytolytic defense. Appropriate progression through these cell biological steps is critical for the directed secretion of specialized secretory lysosomes and subsequent target cell death. Here we highlight recent discoveries in the formation of the NK cell cytolytic synapse as well as the molecular steps and cell biological checkpoints required for this essential host defense process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints*
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic*
  • Humans
  • Immunological Synapses / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / cytology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*