Molecular definition of the identity and activation of natural killer cells

Natalie A Bezman, Charlie C Kim, Joseph C Sun, Gundula Min-Oo, Deborah W Hendricks, Yosuke Kamimura, Adam J Best, Ananda W Goldrath, Lewis L Lanier, Anne L Fletcher, Emmanuel L Gautier, Claudia V Jakubzick, Gwendalyn L Randolph, Jamie Knell, Jennifer C Miller, Brian D Brown, Miriam Merad, Vladimir Jojic, Daphne Koller, Nadia R CohenPatrick J Brennan, Michael B Brenner, Tal Shay, Aviv Regev, Kutlu G Elpek, Angelique Bellemare-Pelletier, Deepali Malhotra, Shannon J Turley, Radu Jianu, David H Laidlaw, Jim J Collins, Kavitha Narayan, Katelyn Sylvia, Joonsoo Kang, Roi Gazit, Derrick J Rossi, Francis S Kim, Tata Nageswara Rao, Amy Wagers, Susan A Shinton, Richard R Hardy, Paul Monach, Tracy Shu Ping Heng, Taras Kreslavsky, Michio W Painter, Jeffrey A Ericson, Scott P Davis, Diane Mathis, Christophe Benoist

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162 Citations (Scopus)


Using whole-genome microarray data sets of the Immunological Genome Project, we demonstrate a closer transcriptional relationship between NK cells and T cells than between any other leukocytes, distinguished by their shared expression of genes encoding molecules with similar signaling functions. Whereas resting NK cells are known to share expression of a few genes with cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells, our transcriptome-wide analysis demonstrates that the commonalities extend to hundreds of genes, many encoding molecules with unknown functions. Resting NK cells demonstrate a preprimed state compared with naive T cells, which allows NK cells to respond more rapidly to viral infection. Collectively, our data provide a global context for known and previously unknown molecular aspects of NK cell identity and function by delineating the genome-wide repertoire of gene expression of NK cells in various states.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1000 - 1009
Number of pages10
JournalNature Immunology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Cite this

Bezman, N. A., Kim, C. C., Sun, J. C., Min-Oo, G., Hendricks, D. W., Kamimura, Y., Best, A. J., Goldrath, A. W., Lanier, L. L., Fletcher, A. L., Gautier, E. L., Jakubzick, C. V., Randolph, G. L., Knell, J., Miller, J. C., Brown, B. D., Merad, M., Jojic, V., Koller, D., ... Benoist, C. (2012). Molecular definition of the identity and activation of natural killer cells. Nature Immunology, 13(10), 1000 - 1009.