The natural killer gene complex: a genetic basis for understanding natural killer cell function and innate immunity

Immunol Rev. 1997 Feb;155:53-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065x.1997.tb00939.x.


The natural killer gene complex encodes proteins, some of which are structurally unrelated, that impact on NK-cell function. Detailed analyses have indicated that these molecules are involved in NK-cell recognition, activation, and inhibition. The importance of this genomic region is highlighted by studies indicating that NKC-associated genes significantly influence NK cell-mediated innate host defense against life-threatening pathogens and that the NKC is conserved among diverse species. Thus, further elucidation of the NKC and its gene products will provide a genetic basis for understanding innate immunity and NK-cell activity at the molecular level.

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 / genetics*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism*
  • Multigene Family / immunology*