Molecular definition of the identity and activation of natural killer cells

Natalie A. Bezman, Charles C. Kim, Joseph C. Sun, Gundula Min-Oo, Deborah W. Hendricks, Yosuke Kamimura, J. Adam Best, Ananda W. Goldrath, Lewis L. Lanier, Emmanuel L. Gautier, Claudia Jakubzick, Gwendalyn J. Randolph, Adam J. Best, Jamie Knell, Jennifer Miller, Brian Brown, Miriam Merad, Vladimir Jojic, Daphne Koller, Nadia CohenPatrick Brennan, Michael Brenner, Tal Shay, Aviv Regev, Anne Fletcher, Kutlu Elpek, Angelique Bellemare-Pelletier, Deepali Malhotra, Shannon Turley, Radu Jianu, David Laidlaw, Jim J. Collins, Kavitha Narayan, Katelyn Sylvia, Joonsoo Kang, Roi Gazit, Derrick J. Rossi, Francis Kim, Tata Nageswara Rao, Amy Wagers, Susan A. Shinton, Richard R. Hardy, Paul Monach, Charlie C. Kim, Tracy Heng, Taras Kreslavsky, Michio Painter, Jeffrey Ericson, Scott Davis, Diane Mathis, Christophe Benoist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1000-1008
Number of pages9
JournalNature immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012


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