Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 72, Issue 16, pp 3037–3049 | Cite as

Natural killer cell heterogeneity: cellular dysfunction and significance in HIV-1 immuno-pathogenesis

  • A. Wahid AnsariEmail author
  • Fareed Ahmad
  • Dirk Meyer-OlsonEmail author
  • Adeeba Kamarulzaman
  • Roland Jacobs
  • Reinhold E. Schmidt


Natural killer (NK) cells are innate immune effectors that provide first line of defence against viruses. Human NK cells are heterogeneous in nature, and their functions rely on a dynamic balance between germ-line-encoded activating and inhibitory receptors. HIV-1 infection results in altered NK cell receptor repertoire and impaired effector functions including the ability to lyse virus-infected cells and secretion of antiviral cytokine IFN-γ. Over the last decade, additional NK cell subset-specific molecules have been identified, leading to emergence of a more complex cellular diversity than previously thought. Herein, we discuss NK cell subset redistribution, altered receptor repertoire and influence of interaction of polymorphic leucocyte antigen (HLA) and killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) on HIV-1 disease progression.


Innate immunity CD56 dim and bright Granzyme B Antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity Highly active antiretroviral therapy 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Scott Hale, Emory University School of Medicine, USA for critically reading the manuscript. This study was supported by the University of Malaya Research Grant (RG 501-13HTM) of the Health and Translational Medicine Cluster awarded to AWA, and DMO received funding from Bundesministerium fur Bildung und Forschung, and DZIF TTU 04.802, Germany.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Wahid Ansari
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Fareed Ahmad
    • 1
  • Dirk Meyer-Olson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Adeeba Kamarulzaman
    • 2
    • 3
  • Roland Jacobs
    • 1
  • Reinhold E. Schmidt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Immunology and RheumatologyHannover Medical SchoolHannoverGermany
  2. 2.Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS (CERiA)University of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  3. 3.Department of Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia

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