Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are a heterogeneous population of cells with diverse roles in immune responses. Three major groups of ILCs have been defined on the basis of similarity in their production of signature cytokines, developmental requirements, and phenotypic markers. Group 1 ILCs produce IFN-γ, express the T-box transcription factors (TF) T-bet and/or Eomesodermin (Eomes), group 2 ILCs secrete IL-5 and IL-13 and express the TF GATA-3, while group 3 ILCs produce IL-22 and IL-17 and express the TF RORgt. In this review, we will briefly overview each group in terms of phenotype, function and development and then focus more extensively on group 1 ILCs, expanding on their emerging diversity, their disparate functions and the differences between NK cells and ILC1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalImmunology Letters
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • ILC
  • Innate immunity
  • Interferon-gamma
  • NK cells


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