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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2011, Article ID 152430, 11 pages
Review Article

Involvement of Activating NK Cell Receptors and Their Modulation in Pathogen Immunity

1Centro di Eccellenza per la Ricerca Biomedica (CEBR), Università di Genova, 16132 Genova, Italy
2Istituto G. Gaslini, 16147 Genova, Italy
3Department of Health Sciences (DISSAL), University of Genova, 13132 Genova, Italy
4Infectious Diseases Unit, Istituto Nazionale per la Ricerca sul Cancro, Largo Rosanna Benzi 10, 16132 Genova, Italy

Received 6 April 2011; Accepted 23 May 2011

Academic Editor: Lorenzo Moretta

Copyright © 2011 Francesco Marras et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Natural Killer (NK) cells are endowed with cell-structure-sensing receptors providing inhibitory protection from self-destruction (inhibitory NK receptors, iNKRs, including killer inhibitory receptors and other molecules) and rapid triggering potential leading to functional cell activation by Toll-like receptors (TLRs), cytokine receptors, and activating NK cell receptors including natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCRs, i.e., NKp46, NKp46, and NKp44). NCR and NKG2D recognize ligands on infected cells which may be endogenous or may directly bind to some structures derived from invading pathogens. In this paper, we address the known direct or indirect interactions between activating receptors and pathogens and their expression during chronic HIV and HCV infections.