, Volume 68, Issue 21, pp 3519-3529,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 06 Sep 2011

Regulation of immune cell function and differentiation by the NKG2D receptor

Abstract

NKG2D is one of the most intensively studied immune receptors of the past decade. Its unique binding and signaling properties, expression pattern, and functions have been attracting much interest within the field due to its potent antiviral and anti-tumor properties. As an activating receptor, NKG2D is expressed on cells of the innate and adaptive immune system. It recognizes stress-induced MHC class I-like ligands and acts as a molecular sensor for cells jeopardized by viral infections or DNA damage. Although the activating functions of NKG2D have been well documented, recent analysis of NKG2D-deficient mice suggests that this receptor may have a regulatory role during NK cell development. In this review, we will revisit known aspects of NKG2D functions and present new insights in the proposed influence of this molecule on hematopoietic differentiation.