Molecular definition of the identity and activation of natural killer cells.
- Author(s): Bezman, Natalie A;
- Kim, Charles C;
- Sun, Joseph C;
- Min-Oo, Gundula;
- Hendricks, Deborah W;
- Kamimura, Yosuke;
- Best, J Adam;
- Goldrath, Ananda W;
- Lanier, Lewis L;
- Immunological Genome Project Consortium
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1038/ni.2395
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.