<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Natural killer cells

Most lymphocytes are primarily involved in the specific adaptive immune response, and thus will be discussed in the following chapter. An exception is the natural killer cells (NK cells) ; these mononuclear lymphocytes use nonspecific mechanisms to recognize and destroy cells that are abnormal in some way. Cancer cells and cells infected with viruses are two examples of cellular abnormalities that are targeted by NK cells. Recognition of such cells involves a complex process of identifying inhibitory and activating molecular markers on the surface of the target cell. Molecular markers that make up the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are expressed by healthy cells as an indication of “self.” This will be covered in more detail in next chapter. NK cells are able to recognize normal MHC markers on the surface of healthy cells, and these MHC markers serve as an inhibitory signal preventing NK cell activation. However, cancer cells and virus-infected cells actively diminish or eliminate expression of MHC markers on their surface. When these MHC markers are diminished or absent, the NK cell interprets this as an abnormality and a cell in distress. This is one part of the NK cell activation process ( [link] ). NK cells are also activated by binding to activating molecular molecules on the target cell. These activating molecular molecules include “altered self” or “nonself” molecules. When a NK cell recognizes a decrease in inhibitory normal MHC molecules and an increase in activating molecules on the surface of a cell, the NK cell will be activated to eliminate the cell in distress.

NK cells have both inhibitory and activating receptors. Normal cells have signals on their MHC molecules that bind to the inhibitory receptors; so the NK cell does not kill them. Cells that are infected with virus have ligands that bind to the activating receptor; this causes the NK cell to kill them.
Natural killer (NK) cells are inhibited by the presence of the major histocompatibility cell (MHC) receptor on healthy cells. Cancer cells and virus-infected cells have reduced expression of MHC and increased expression of activating molecules. When a NK cell recognizes decreased MHC and increased activating molecules, it will kill the abnormal cell.

Once a cell has been recognized as a target, the NK cell can use several different mechanisms to kill its target. For example, it may express cytotoxic membrane proteins and cytokines that stimulate the target cell to undergo apoptosis , or controlled cell suicide. NK cells may also use perforin-mediated cytotoxicity to induce apoptosis in target cells. This mechanism relies on two toxins released from granules in the cytoplasm of the NK cell: perforin , a protein that creates pores in the target cell, and granzymes , proteases that enter through the pores into the target cell’s cytoplasm, where they trigger a cascade of protein activation that leads to apoptosis. The NK cell binds to the abnormal target cell, releases its destructive payload, and detaches from the target cell. While the target cell undergoes apoptosis, the NK cell synthesizes more perforin and proteases to use on its next target.

NK cells contain these toxic compounds in granules in their cytoplasm. When stained, the granules are azurophilic and can be visualized under a light microscope ( [link] ). Even though they have granules, NK cells are not considered granulocytes because their granules are far less numerous than those found in true granulocytes. Furthermore, NK cells have a different lineage than granulocytes, arising from lymphoid rather than myeloid stem cells ( [link] ).

Questions & Answers

what is haemaophilus influenzae
GALI Reply
what is the different between eubacteria and archaer bacteria
GALI
what the important of dna
Yunusa Reply
it act as hereditary material, coding for proteins and guide for life processes such as development reproduction etc
khan
liver is the largest organ of the body
maryam Reply
differences between prokaryotes and eukaryotes
Taiwo Reply
Eukaryotic cells contain membrane-bound organelles, such as the nucleus, while prokaryotic cells do not.
Margo
hello
usman
margo calvi....its your simple difference
Sadiqur
likely objective questions
Naa
what is largest Organ in the body
Dr
Skin is the largest organ in the body
Yadav
heart is the largest organ of the body
usman
liver is the largest organ in the body
maryam
liver is the largest organ in the body
maryam
skin
Janet
skin
Elyas
bilharzia
Elyas
i need formation
Elyas
liver is the largest organ in the body
maryam
Skin is the largest
Amin
skin
Amin
give me the name of good microbiology books to download
Shahid Reply
thank u
Shahid
bacteriology encyclopedia
Mzafar
Who invented microbes?
manor Reply
Which year did Robert koch invented the microbes?
manor
Robert Koch
Matilda
Antony Van Leeuwenhoek invented microbes through a designed single lensed microscope.
Mohamed
what is microbiology
Nyoik Reply
microbiology is the study of micro organisms. this can be multicellular,unicellular & acellular
Janet
what is the difference between DNA/RNA
kanaaLka
DNA is a double stranded molecule while RNA is a single stranded molecule
Lovely
who is the inventor of microscope
Alberta
What are antibodies?
Happy Reply
they are immune cells that are released by immune system to fight strangers like microbes
Ahmed
a blood protien produce in response to an counteracting a specific antigen
Pooja
Why salmonella typhi is harmful protozoan?
Saily Reply
because make typhoid that is considered as a food born illness
Ahmed
Name any five modes of transmission.
Happy
what are the scientific names and common names of some microbes
Rich Reply
Staphylococcus aureus - staph Streptococcus pyogenes - strep Botulism - Clostridium botulinum Rocky Mountain spotted fever - Rickettsia rickettsii Diphtheria - Corynebacterium diphtheriae Gonorrhea - Neisseria gonorrhoeae
Tammy
what are the limitations of the Koch's postulate
Naa
how a microorganism growth.
Zubair Reply
Is foetus a parasite to his or her mother? if yes and if no ho
Mashauri Reply
y
Yusri
yes
Yashkin
yes
Zubair
yes it a parasite to the mother because it feeds on the mother for survival
Beatrice
yes
Redwan
no
Elasha
definition of a parasite: an organism that lives in or on an organism of ANOTHER species (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other's expense
Elasha
no because an organism can inky be a parasite if it causes harm to its HOST. And the fetus does not cause harm to its mother under normal conditions
aliyu
yes
Naa
what is biosensor in microbiology
Raja Reply
What are biosensor
Raja
what's are biosensor
Raja
what is microbiology defination
Rinku Reply
microbiology is the study of small or manuit organisms which cannot be seen with our nacked eyes unless with the aid of the microscope
Brandina
is the study of living organisms which are not directly visible to a direct eye but can only be seen under a microscope
Ipa
ok
Ipa
microbiology is the study of living organisms of microscopic size it is also the study of micro organisms with their form structure reproduction psychology metabolism and classification
Priyanka
ok
Aminu
Microbiology are the study of microorganisms either microscopic or sub microscopic creaters mainly unicellulars, multicellulars and subcellulars. Such as protozoa,bacteria and viruses.
Rana
it is the biological study of viruses, fungi, protozoa, bacteria which in collective name are called micro organisms, unlike microscopic organisms being invisible, that requires a magnifications with the help of a microscope.
Mohamed
is the branch of science that deals with the study of micro and microorganism and there life cicle
GALI
right...
Latif
what are the importances of Microbiology?
Erick Reply
don't know
SINGLE
we obtained the insulin from the bacteria. and some microorganisms are decomposer in ecosystems.
Zubair
nitrogen in the air is fixed into the soil by microbes example is nitrobactor
Matilda
yes
Zubair

Get the best Microbiology course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Microbiology' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask