Activating natural cytotoxicity receptors of natural killer cells in cancer and infection

Joachim Koch*, Alexander Steinle, Carsten Watzl, Ofer Mandelboim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

242 Scopus citations


Natural killer (NK) cells are central players in the vertebrate immune system that rapidly eliminate malignantly transformed or infected cells. The natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCRs) NKp30, NKp44, and NKp46 are important mediators of NK cell cytotoxicity, which trigger an immune response on recognition of cognate cellular and viral ligands. Tumour and viral immune escape strategies targeting these receptor-ligand systems impair NK cell cytotoxicity and promote disease. Therefore, a molecular understanding of the function of the NCRs in immunosurveillance is instrumental to discovering novel access points to combat infections and cancer.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)182-191
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The laboratory of J.K. is supported by institutional funds of the Georg-Speyer-Haus and by grants from LOEWE Center for Cell and Gene Therapy Frankfurt funded by: Hessisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst (HMWK) funding reference number: III L 4- 518/17.004 (2010) and the Wilhelm-Sander Stiftung (2010.104.1). The Georg-Speyer-Haus is funded jointly by the German Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts of the State of Hessen (HMWK). Research of the laboratory of A.S. is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). The laboratory of C.W. is supported by grants from the DFG and the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF). The laboratory of O.M. is supported by the ISF, the ICRF and by the Israeli-ICORE. O.M. is a Crown Professor of Molecular Immunology.


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