Review Article

The Activating Receptors of Natural Killer Cells and Their Inter-Switching Potentials

Author(s): Adekunle Babajide Rowaiye, Titilayo Asala, Angus Nnamdi Oli*, Ikemefuna Chijioke Uzochukwu, Alex Akpa and Charles Okechukwu Esimone

Volume 21 , Issue 16 , 2020

Page: [1733 - 1751] Pages: 19

DOI: 10.2174/1389450121666200910160929

Price: $65


The global incidence of cancer is on the increase and researchers are prospecting for specific and non-selective therapies derived from the immune system. The killer activating receptors of NK cells are known to be involved in immunosurveillance against tumor and virally-infected cells. These receptors belong to two main categories, namely the immunoglobulin like and C-lectin like families. Though they have different signal pathways, all the killer activating receptors have similar effector functions which include direct cytotoxicity and the release of inflammatory cytokines such as IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha. To transduce signals that exceed the activation threshold for cytotoxicity, most of these receptors require synergistic effort. This review profiles 21 receptors: 13 immunoglobulin-like, 5 lectin-like, and 3 others. It critically explores their structural uniqueness, role in disease, respective transduction signal pathways and their status as current and prospective targets for cancer immunotherapy. While the native ligands of most of these receptors are known, much work is required to prospect for specific antibodies, peptides and multi-target small molecules with high binding affinities.

Keywords: Immunology, cytotoxicity, immunoglobulin, immunotherapy, lectin, NK cells.

Graphical Abstract
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