Genetic control of human NK cell repertoire

Heather G Shilling, Neil Thomas Young, Lisbeth A Guethlein, Nathalie W Cheng, Clair M Gardiner, Dolly Tyan, Peter Parham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

215 Citations (Scopus)


Through differential killer cell Ig-like receptor (KIR) and CD94:NKG2 gene expression, human NK cells generate diverse repertoires, each cell having an inhibitory receptor for autologous HLA class I. Using a new method for measuring repertoire difference that integrates multiple flow cytometry parameters, we found individual repertoire stability, but population variability. Correlating repertoire differences with KIR and HLA genotype for 85 sibling pairs reveals the dominant influence of KIR genotype; HLA genotype having a subtle, modulating effect on relative KIR expression frequencies. HLA and/or KIR genotype also influences CD94:NKG2A expression. After HLA-matched stem cell transplantation, KIR repertoires either recapitulated that of the donor or were generally depressed for KIR expression. Human NK cell repertoires are defined by combinations of variable KIR and HLA class I genes and conserved CD94:NKG2 genes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-247
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journal of Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2002


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, CD
  • Clone Cells
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genotype
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Lymphocyte Subsets
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Middle Aged
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily C
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily D
  • Nuclear Family
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, KIR
  • Receptors, Natural Killer Cell


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