Natural killer (NK) cells are cytotoxic type 1 innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) that defend against viruses and mediate anti-tumor responses, yet mechanisms controlling their development and function remain incompletely understood. We hypothesized that the abundantly expressed microRNA-142 (miR-142) is a critical regulator of type 1 ILC biology. Interleukin-15 (IL-15) signaling induced miR-142 expression, whereas global and ILC-specific miR-142-deficient mice exhibited a cell-intrinsic loss of NK cells. Death of NK cells resulted from diminished IL-15 receptor signaling within miR-142-deficient mice, likely via reduced suppressor of cytokine signaling-1 (Socs1) regulation by miR-142-5p. ILCs persisting in Mir142−/− mice demonstrated increased expression of the miR-142-3p target αV integrin, which supported their survival. Global miR-142-deficient mice exhibited an expansion of ILC1-like cells concurrent with increased transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling. Further, miR-142-deficient mice had reduced NK-cell-dependent function and increased susceptibility to murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection. Thus, miR-142 critically integrates environmental cues for proper type 1 ILC homeostasis and defense against viral infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-490.e6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 17 2019


  • IL-15
  • ILC1-like cells
  • NK cells
  • cytokine receptors
  • innate lymphoid cells
  • integrin
  • microRNA-142
  • murine cytomegalovirus
  • tissue resident


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