Cloning of immunoglobulin-superfamily members associated with HLA-C and HLA-B recognition by human natural killer cells

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Science  21 Apr 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5209, pp. 405-408
DOI: 10.1126/science.7716543


Cytotoxicity by natural killer (NK) cells is inhibited by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules on target cells. This inhibition may be mediated by NK receptors with different MHC specificities. A family of four NK-specific complementary DNAs (cDNAs), designated NKATs (NK-associated transcripts), was identified that encoded related transmembrane proteins, characterized by an extracellular region with two or three immunoglobulin-superfamily domains and by a cytoplasmic domain with an unusual antigen receptor activation motif (ARAM). The distribution of these cDNAs was clonotypic and correlated with NK cell inhibition by particular class I alleles. Thus, NKAT cDNAs may encode receptors for class I molecules on NK cells.

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