killer cells

killer cells
(= K cells)
(1) Mammalian cells which can lyse antibody-coated target cells. They have a receptor for the Fc portion of IgG, and are probably of the mononuclear phagocyte lineage, though some may be lymphocytes. Not to be confused with cytotoxic T-cells (CTL) which recognize targets by other means and are clearly a subset of T-lymphocytes: this confusion exists in the early literature.
(2) (NK cells) Natural killer cells are CD3-negative large granular lymphocytes, mediating cytolytic reactions that do not require expression of Class I or II major histocompatibility antigens on the target cell.
(3) (LAK cells) Lymphokine-activated killer cells are NK cells activated by interleukin-2.

Dictionary of molecular biology. 2004.

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