Function and specificity of human natural killer cell receptors.

A. Moretta, S. Parolini, R. Castriconi, C. Bottino, M. Vitale, S. Sivori, R. Millo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In humans, natural killer lymphocytes express HLA class I-specific inhibitory receptors belonging to at least two different molecular families. The first is represented by members of the Ig superfamily that are involved in the recognition of different groups of HLA class I alleles, and the second is represented by a molecular complex formed by CD94 and NKG2A that displays a broad specificity for various class I molecules including the 'non-classical' HLA-G molecules. In addition to the inhibitory receptors, a series of activating receptors has been identified. Some display the same specificities as the corresponding inhibiting receptors and can be viewed as HLA class I-specific activating receptors. Another group of activating receptors appear to be involved in the cytolytic activity against HLA-'negative' target cells. These receptors are clearly non-MHC specific and, under physiological conditions, their function is suppressed by the HLA class I-specific inhibitory receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-468
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunogenetics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Genetics


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