Understanding natural killer cell biology from a single cell perspective

Nikita Subedi, Liesbeth Petronella Verhagen, Esmée Michelle Bosman, Ilse van Roessel, Jurjen Tel (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
118 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

During the last decade, advances in single cell technologies have ignited increased understanding of natural killer cells (NK cells), which turned out to be far more complex than originally thought. Ample studies have established tissue-specific phenotypic variation within this cell population; however, the functional implication of this vast variation is still unclear. At single-cell level, the function of a NK cell is tightly regulated by several checkpoints however upon proper recognition the cell can deliver a lytic hit as early as 10 min or could take hours before they can kill their target cells. Moreover, only a fraction of NK cells appears to kill target cells while the larger portion of NK cells appear to be non-cytotoxic. All these studies showed that the NK cell compartment is composed of cells with different functional strengths and efficacies, thereby highlighting the necessity of analytical platforms that allow the study of these important innate immune cells at single-cell level. In this review, we discuss and provide an overview on phenotypical and functional heterogeneity within the NK cell population and subsequently provide information regarding emerging technologies that highlight the importance of single-cell studies to understand the biology of these cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104497
Number of pages12
JournalCellular Immunology
Volume373
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This result is part of a project, ImmunoCode, that has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement No. 802791). We acknowledge the generous support by the Eindhoven University of Technology.

Funding Information:
This result is part of a project, ImmunoCode, that has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement No. 802791). We acknowledge the generous support by the Eindhoven University of Technology. NS, LVV, JT conceptualized the manuscript. NS, EMB, IvR wrote the manuscript. JT wrote and verified the manuscript.

Keywords

  • Cellular Diversity
  • Functional Heterogeneity
  • Natural killer cell
  • Single cell technology

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