Modeling Human Natural Killer Cell Development in the Era of Innate Lymphoid Cells.

Scoville SD, Freud AG, Caligiuri MA
Front Immunol 8 360 01/01/2017

Abstract

Decades after the discovery of natural killer (NK) cells, their developmental pathways in mice and humans have not yet been completely deciphered. Accumulating evidence indicates that NK cells can develop in multiple tissues throughout the body. Moreover, detailed and comprehensive models of NK cell development were proposed soon after the turn of the century. However, with the recent identification and characterization of other subtypes of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), which show some overlapping functional and phenotypic features with NK cell developmental intermediates, the distinct stages through which human NK cells develop from early hematopoietic progenitor cells remain unclear. Thus, there is a need to reassess and refine older models of NK cell development in the context of new data and in the era of ILCs. Our group has focused on elucidating the developmental pathway of human NK cells in secondary lymphoid tissues (SLTs), including tonsils and lymph nodes. Here, we provide an update of recent progress that has been made with regard to human NK cell development in SLTs, and we discuss these new findings in the context of contemporary models of ILC development.

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