Emerging Major Histocompatibility Complex Class I-Related Functions of NLRC5

Adv Immunol. 2017:133:89-119. doi: 10.1016/bs.ai.2016.11.003. Epub 2017 Jan 3.


Recent evidence demonstrates a key role for the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor (NLR) family member NLRC5 (NLR family, CARD domain containing protein 5) in the transcriptional regulation of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and related genes. Detailed information on NLRC5 target genes in various cell types and conditions is emerging. Thanks to its analogy to CIITA (class II major MHC transactivator), a NLR family member known for over 20 years to be the master regulator of MHC class II gene transcription, also the molecular mechanisms underlying NLRC5 function are being rapidly unraveled. MHC class I molecules are crucial in regulating innate and adaptive cytotoxic responses. Whereas CD8+ T cells detect antigens presented on MHC class I molecules by infected or transformed cells, natural killer (NK) lymphocytes eliminate target cells with downregulated MHC class I expression. Data uncovering the relevance of NLRC5 in homeostasis and activity of these two lymphocyte subsets have been recently reported. Given the importance of CD8+ T and NK cells in controlling infection and cancer, it is not surprising that NLRC5 is also starting to emerge as a central player in these diseases. This chapter summarizes and discusses novel insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying NLRC5 activity and its relevance to pathological conditions. A thorough understanding of both aspects is essential to evaluate the clinical significance and therapeutic potential of NLRC5.

Keywords: CD8(+) T cells; CIITA; MHC class I; NK cells; NLR; NLRC5.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes, MHC Class I*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunologic Surveillance
  • Infections / immunology*
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / immunology*


  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • NLRC5 protein, human