Major Histocompatibility Complex-I (MHC-I) molecules can be divided into class Ia and class Ib, with three distinct class Ib families found in the mouse. These families are designated as Q, T and M and are largely unexplored in terms of their immunological function. Among the class Ib MHC, H2-T23 (Qa-1b) has been a significant target for Natural Killer (NK) cell research, owing to its homology with the human class Ib human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-E. However, recent data has indicated that members of the Q and M family of class Ib MHC also play a critical role in the development and regulation NK cells. Here we discuss the recent advances in the control of NK cells by murine class Ib MHC as a means to stimulate further exploration of these molecules.
- Major histocompatibility complex
- Natural killer cell