Research Topic

Ligand specificity of Killer cell Immunoglobulin Receptors

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About this Research Topic

Killer-cell Immunoglobulin-like Receptors (KIR) make up an essential part of the human NK cell receptor repertoire and regulate the activity of NK cells and some T cells. The KIR gene family is located on chromosome 19q13.4 and consists of 14 members. The locus is extremely polymorphic, and KIR haplotypes ...

Killer-cell Immunoglobulin-like Receptors (KIR) make up an essential part of the human NK cell receptor repertoire and regulate the activity of NK cells and some T cells. The KIR gene family is located on chromosome 19q13.4 and consists of 14 members. The locus is extremely polymorphic, and KIR haplotypes differ both in the number of KIR and their sequence. The presence of particular KIR genes and alleles is associated with resistance to infectious and autoimmune disease, including AIDS and type I diabetes. Many KIR bind HLA class I molecules, and many of these genetic associations are dependent on a combination of KIR and HLA class I alleles. Understanding the specificities of KIR-ligand interactions is crucial to understanding these KIR-disease associations.

For most inhibitory KIR, HLA-encoded ligands have been identified. However, the ligands for most activating KIR are unknown, despite at least a decade of intense research. In this special topic, each article summarizes the experimental evidence for ligand specificity of one or two KIR genes.

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