Cellular liaisons of natural killer lymphocytes in immunology and immunotherapy of cancer
Arina A., Murillo O., Dubrot J., Azpilikueta A., Alfaro C., Pérez-Gracia J.L., Bendandi M., Palencia B., Hervás-Stubbs S., Melero I.
University of Navarra, Centro de Investigación Médica Aplicada and Clínica Universitaria, Gene Therapy Unit, Avda. Pío XII 55, 31008, Pamplona, Spain.
There is compelling evidence for the role of natural killer (NK) cells in tumor immunosurveillance and their beneficial effects on many experimentally successful immunotherapy strategies. NK cells mediate cell contact-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and produce pro-inflammatory cytokines, but do not rearrange antigen receptors.
Their activation depends on various germline-encoded receptors, including CD16, which mediates recognition of antibody-coated target cells. NK cytotoxicity is checked by a repertoire of inhibitory receptors that scan adequate expression of major histocompatibility complex class I molecules on the potential target cell. Functional cross-talk of NK and dendritic cells suggests a critical role for NK cells in the initiation and regulation of cellular immunity.
Considerable knowledge on the molecular basis of NK recognition/activation contrasts with a lack of successful translational research on these matters. However, there is plenty of opportunity for targeted intervention of inhibitory/activatory surface receptors and for adoptive cell therapy with autologous or allogeneic NK cells.
CITATION Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2007 May;7(5):599-615