Natural killer (NK) cells are a part of the innate immune system that functions mainly to kill transformed and infected cells. Their activity is controlled by signals derived from a panel of activating and inhibitory receptors. The natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCRs): NKp30, NKp44, and NKp46 (NCR1 in mice) are prominent among the activating NK cell receptors and they are, notably, the only NK-activating receptors that are able to recognize pathogen-derived ligands. In addition, the NCRs also recognize cellular ligands, the identity of which remains largely unknown. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge regarding viruses that are recognized by the NCRs, focusing on the diverse immune-evasion mechanisms employed by viruses to escape this detection. We also discuss the unique role the NCRs have in regulating NK cell activity with particular emphasis on the in vivo function of NKp46/NCR1.
- Immune evasion
- NK cells
- Natural cytotoxicity receptors
- Natural cytotoxicity receptors ligands