Research Papers: Immunology:

A long noncoding RNA positively regulates CD56 in human natural killer cells

Ruya Zhang, Fang Ni, Binqing Fu, Yang Wu, Rui Sun, Zhigang Tian and Haiming Wei _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:72546-72558. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12466

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Ruya Zhang1,*, Fang Ni1,2,*, Binqing Fu1, Yang Wu1, Rui Sun1, Zhigang Tian1 and Haiming Wei1

1 Institute of Immunology and the CAS Key Laboratory of Innate Immunity and Chronic Disease, School of Life Science and Medical Center, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China

2 Department of Pathophysiology, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui, China

* These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Haiming Wei, email:

Zhigang Tian, email:

Keywords: long noncoding RNAs, natural killer cells, CD56, primary lymphocytes, lnc-CD56, Immunology and Microbiology Section, Immune response, Immunity

Received: May 06, 2016 Accepted: September 28, 2016 Published: October 04, 2016


Natural killer (NK) cells are innate immune lymphocytes that play critical roles in host defense against viral infection and surveillance against malignant transformation. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are important immune system regulators. Here, we analyzed human primary lymphocyte lncRNA expression profiles to identify NK-lncRNA signatures. We detected numerous novel NK-specific lncRNAs with potential roles in regulating human NK cell differentiation and function. Expression of lnc-CD56, an NK-specific lncRNA, was positively correlated with that of CD56, a classical human NK cell surface marker. We showed that lnc-CD56 may function as a positive regulator of CD56 in primary human NK cells and differentiated NK cells from human CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells. Our data provide an annotated human NK cell lncRNA expression catalog and demonstrate a key role for lncRNAs in NK cell biology.

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