Research ArticleNK CELLS

Clonal expansion and compartmentalized maintenance of rhesus macaque NK cell subsets

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Science Immunology  02 Nov 2018:
Vol. 3, Issue 29, eaat9781
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aat9781

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An enduring NK cell clan

Unlike other immune cells, the processes by which different NK cell subsets expand and are maintained are not well understood. Here, Wu et al. transplanted barcoded hematopoietic progenitor cells into rhesus macaques to follow the production, expansion, and maintenance of NK cells in the peripheral circulation for more than 4 years. They identified oligoclonal CD56CD16+ NK cell populations that segregated into unique clones, expanding or contracting over time and expressing specific surface KIR molecules. Offering a compartmentalized view of NK cell maintenance, distinct mature CD56CD16+ NK cell subpopulations were maintained through self-renewal, independent of differentiation from hematopoietic progenitors or less mature NK cells, even upon challenges representing moderate proliferative stress.