Human NK cell receptors/markers: A tool to analyze NK cell development, subsets and function

Elisa Montaldo, Genny Del Zotto, Mariella Della Chiesa, Maria Cristina Mingari, Alessandro Moretta, Andrea De Maria, Lorenzo Moretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Natural killer (NK) cells are important components of the innate immunity and play a key role in host defense by virtue of their ability to release cytokines and to mediate cytolytic activity against tumor cells and virus-infected cells. NK cells were first described more than 30 years ago on the basis of their peculiar functional capabilities. Subsequently, thanks to the production of a variety of monoclonal antibodies, it became possible to identify surface receptors and markers expressed by NK cells as well as to characterize their functional properties. Here, we provide a brief historical overview about the discovery of human NK cell receptors and we delineate the main phenotypic features of differentiating and mature NK cells in healthy donors as well as their alterations in certain pathologic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)702-713
Number of pages12
JournalCytometry Part A
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


  • Cytolytic activity
  • Haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Natural killer cell cytokine production
  • Natural killer cell differentiation
  • Natural killer cell receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Histology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medicine(all)


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