Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are a new class of immune cells that include natural killer (NK) cells and appear to be the innate counterparts to CD4+ helper T cells and CD8+ cytotoxic T cells based on developmental and functional similarities. Like T cells, both NK cells and other ILCs also show connections to the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). In human and mouse, NK cells recognize and respond to classical and nonclassical MHC I molecules as well as structural homologues, whereas mouse ILCs have recently been shown to express MHC II. We describe the history of MHC I recognition by NK cells and discuss emerging roles for MHC II expression by ILC subsets, making comparisons between both mouse and human when possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-11
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Cytokines
  • Human
  • Human leukocyte antigen
  • Innate
  • Innate lymphoid cells
  • MHC
  • Mouse


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