License to kill, regulate and remember: The many roles of natural killer cells

Can M. Sungur, Maite Alvarez, William J Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Natural killer (NK) cells are one of the first lines of defense against a wide range of pathogens and cancers. They express a variety of both inhibitory and activating receptors and antigens that can be used to classify cells as a particular subset population with differing regulatory and effector functions. New studies reveal previously uncharacterized complexities of NK development, functions, roles, and responses to stimuli within these subsets of NK cells. These new characteristics include populations of NK cells that are involved in regulation, memory, hematopoiesis, positive and negative selection, and interactions between adaptive and innate cells. NK cells thus serve as an important innate, anti-pathogen and anti-tumor cell with possible adaptive immunity features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-121
Number of pages19
JournalCurrent Trends in Immunology
StatePublished - 2012


  • Adaptive
  • Arming
  • Cell interactions
  • Development
  • Education
  • Immunotherapy
  • Innate
  • Licensing
  • Natural killer cells
  • Regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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