Sino Biological offers a comprehensive set of tools for natural killer cell (NK cell) related research, including recombinant proteins, antibodies, ELISA kits, and ORF cDNA clones.
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Natural killer cells (NK cells) are a type of lymphocytes that play a major role in innate immunity. The name “natural killer” derives from the initial notion that NK cells do not require activation in order to kill cells that are missing "self" markers of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I. The specificity of the receptors with which natural killer cells recognize potential targets are not diversified like the T-cell antigen receptors (TCRs) of the T lymphocytes, or surface immunoglobulins (Ig) B cell receptors of the B lymphocytes; NK cell receptors are polymorphic. Natural killer cells have receptors as activating molecules, such as some killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) and Fc receptors, or as inhibitory molecules, such as CD94/KLRD1 and leukocyte inhibitory receptors (ILT or LIR). NK cells are activated upon detection of abnormalities in target cells such as the loss of MHC class I expression, or up-regulation of stress-induced ligands in response to infection or neoplastic transformation. The former situation of NK cell activation is in sharp contrast to T cells that can only recognize antigens when presented within a MHC molecule. It is a common evolutionary adaption that viruses often suppress class I MHC expression in cells they infect, rendering the cells impervious to T-cell mediated immunity. However, loss of MHC renders the infected cells susceptible to killing by NK cells. Tumors have reduced or no class I MHC expression, they, too, become vulnerable to killing by NK cells. Natural killer cells have granules in their cytoplasm, containing proteins such as perforin and proteases known as granzymes. Perforin pores in the ce membrane of the target cell, creating a channel through which the granzymes and associated molecules can enter, inducing either apoptosis or cell lysis. In addition to killing target cells, NK cells also function as important regulators of immune system by secreting cytokines in response to immune activation.