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NK cell development in bone marrow and liver: site matters


The NKp46 protein is found on resting and activated natural killer (NK) cells and is involved in the recognition of malignant and infected cells. The expression of NKp46 is believed to precede that of DX5 in early NK cell development. We show that this is not the case in the bone marrow (BM). Here, NKp46 is predominantly expressed after DX5, whereas the liver harbors a subpopulation that expresses NKp46 but not DX5. NK cell precursors in the liver show much lower levels of Eomesodermin than NK cell precursors in the BM, although they express higher levels of granzymes and unlike the NK cell precursors in the BM are fully able to degranulate and produce interferon gamma (IFN-γ). The development of NK cells thus differs between the two organs. This needs to be considered when using NKp46 and DX5 as NK cell markers and when performing NK cell-specific gene deletion in Ncr1 transgenic mice.

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We thank P Kudweis and E Straka for their help and HJ Fehling for providing the Rosa-tdRFP mice. The work was supported by the FWF grant SFB F28 (VS,

Author Contributions

DG, EMP, MP-M, CS and AG performed the research and analyzed data; OM and VS provided reagents and/or analytic tools and analyzed data; DG, EMP, SC and VS designed the research and wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to V Sexl or E M Putz.

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The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Gotthardt, D., Prchal-Murphy, M., Seillet, C. et al. NK cell development in bone marrow and liver: site matters. Genes Immun 15, 584–587 (2014).

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