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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology
Fator do impacto: 1.404 FI de cinco anos: 3.347 SJR: 0.706 SNIP: 0.55 CiteScore™: 2.19

ISSN Imprimir: 1040-8401
ISSN On-line: 2162-6472

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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevImmunol.2013007409
pages 203-218

The Yin-Yang of KIR3DL1/S1: Molecular Mechanisms and Cellular Function

Geraldine M. O'Connor
Cancer and Inflammation Program, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, NIH, Frederick
Daniel W. McVicar
Cancer and Inflammation Program, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, NIH, Frederick


Killer Immunoglobulin-like Receptors (KIR) are a family of receptors expressed on natural killer (NK) and T-cell subsets. KIR3DL1 is a highly polymorphic receptor that binds to groups of HLAA and HLA-B allotypes that express the Bw4 epitope. The variation in KIR3DL1 allotypes manifests at a number of levels. Most dramatically, a common allelic variant encodes an activating rather than an inhibitory receptor (KIR3DS1). In addition, sequence variants can affect both the frequency of expression within the NK cell population and the intensity of expression on a given cell. KIR3DL1 polymorphism also influences the interaction with HLA-Bw4 molecules, due to contacts with the HLA molecule itself and sensitivity to the presented peptide. A body of evidence from genetic association studies supports the biological significance not only of the interaction of KIR3DL1 with HLA-Bw4 but also the functional variation seen with different KIR3DL1 and HLA allotypes. In this review, we discuss our current understanding of KIR3DL1 function and our recent insights from the structure of the KIR3DL1 in complex with HLA. In addition, we will summarize our current understanding of KIR3DS1, including its ligand specificity and its role in immune responses.

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