Natural killer (NK) cells are large granular lymphocytes that are components of the innate immune system. These cells are key players in the defense against viral and other microbial infections and cancer and have an important function during pregnancy, autoimmunity and allergy. Furthermore, NK cells play important roles in hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantation by providing the graft versus leukemia effect and preventing the development of graft versus host disease. Thus, understanding the developmental pathway(s) from multipotent HSCs to the NK cell lineage-restricted progenitors is of significant clinical value. However, despite extensive progress in the delineation of mature blood cell development, including the B- and T-cell lineages, the early stages of NK cell lineage commitment and development have been less well established and characterized. Here, I review the progress made thus far in dissecting the developmental stages, from HSCs in the bone marrow to the lineage-committed NK cells in mouse.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Immunology in the medical area