Transcriptional control of natural killer cell differentiation and function

  • Alfonso Martín-Fontecha
  • Graham M. Lord
  • Hugh J. M. Brady
Multi-author review


Gene expression can be modulated depending on physiological and developmental requirements. A multitude of regulatory genes, which are organized in interdependent networks, guide development and eventually generate specific phenotypes. Transcription factors (TF) are a key element in the regulatory cascade controlling cell fate and effector functions. In this review, we discuss recent data on the diversity of TF that determine natural killer (NK) cell fate and NK cell function.


Transcription factor NK cell differentiation Migration Effector function 



The authors acknowledge the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation (31-109832 to AMF) and the Medical Research Council-UK (G0802068 to G.M.L. and A.M.F., and G0901737 to H.J.B.). The authors also acknowledge financial support from the Department of Health via the National Institute for Health research (NIHR) comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre award to Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with King’s College London and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicting financial interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfonso Martín-Fontecha
    • 1
  • Graham M. Lord
    • 1
  • Hugh J. M. Brady
    • 2
  1. 1.Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Transplantation, Guy’s Hospital King’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Section of Immunity and Infection, Cell and Molecular Biology Division, Department of Life Sciences, Immunology and InfectionImperial College LondonLondonUK

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