Research Papers: Immunology:

PILRα binds an unknown receptor expressed primarily on CD56bright and decidual-NK cells and activates NK cell functions

Yael Ophir, Alexandra Duev-Cohen, Rachel Yamin, Pini Tsukerman, Yoav Bauman, Moriya Gamliel and Ofer Mandelboim _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:40953-40964. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.8397

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Yael Ophir1, Alexandra Duev-Cohen1, Rachel Yamin1, Pini Tsukerman1, Yoav Bauman1, Moriya Gamliel1 and Ofer Mandelboim1

1 The Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology, The BioMedical Research Institute Israel-Canada of The Faculty of Medicine, The Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel

Correspondence to:

Ofer Mandelboim, email:

Keywords: NK, PILRa, CD56 bright, Immunology and Microbiology Section, Immune response, Immunity

Received: October 27, 2015 Accepted: March 18, 2016 Published: March 27, 2016


Natural Killer (NK) cells are innate immune lymphocytes specializing in recognition and killing of tumors and pathogens, using an array of activating and inhibitory receptors. NK inhibition is mediated by a large repertoire of inhibitory receptors, whereas a limited number of activating NK cell receptors execute NK cell activation. The ligands recognized by the activating receptors are stress-induced, pathogen derived, tumor specific and even self ligands. However, the full spectrum of NK cell receptors and ligands that control NK cell activity remains uncharacterized. Here we demonstrate that Paired Ig-Like type 2 Receptor Alpha (PILRα), binds a distinct human NK cell sub-population present in the peripheral blood and also in the decidua. We further demonstrate that the interaction of NK cells with PILRα expressing targets lead to elevated IFNγ secretion and cytotoxicity. In conclusion, we present here a novel NK activating ligand which binds and activates an unknown NK receptor expressed on a unique NK cell subset.

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PII: 8397