Transcriptional control of natural killer cell differentiation
Natural killer (NK) cells are highly specialized cytotoxic lymphocytes that provide protection against pathogens and malignant cells. They develop from common lymphoid progenitors via a multi‐stage lineage commitment and differentiation process that gives rise to mature NK cells with potent cytotoxic functionality. Although generally considered cells of the innate immune system, recent studies have demonstrated that NK cells have the capacity to mount immune responses with features of adaptive immunity, including robust antigen‐specific clonal‐like expansion and the generation of long‐lived memory cells that mediate enhanced recall responses. Here, we discuss specific transcription factors that have been shown to commonly and uniquely regulate NK cell development and effector and memory responses in experimental mouse models.
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