Immune responses must be tightly regulated to avoid hyporesponsiveness on one hand or excessive inflammation and the development of autoimmunity (hyperresponsiveness) on the other hand. This balance is attained through the throttling of activating signals by inhibitory signals that ideally leads to an adequate immune response against an invader without excessive and extended inflammatory signals that promote the development of autoimmunity. The CD94/NKG2 family of receptors is composed of members with activating or inhibitory potential. These receptors are expressed predominantly on NK cells and a subset of CD8+ T cells, and they have been shown to play an important role in regulating responses against infected and tumorigenic cells. In this review, we discuss the current knowledge about this family of receptors, including ligand and receptor interaction, signaling, membrane dynamics, regulation of gene expression and their roles in disease regulation, infections, and cancer, and bone marrow transplantation.
- CD8+ T cells
- NK cells