Natural killer (NK) cells are lymphocytes that can mediate lysis of certain tumor cells and virus-infected cells without previous activation. They can also regulate specific humoral and cell-mediated immunity. The protein encoded by this gene belongs to the killer cell lectin-like receptor family, also called NKG2 family, which is a group of transmembrane proteins preferentially expressed in NK cells. This family of proteins is characterized by the type II membrane orientation and the presence of a C-type lectin domain. This protein forms a complex with another family member, KLRD1/CD94, and has been implicated in the recognition of the MHC class I HLA-E molecules in NK cells. The genes of NKG2 family members form a killer cell lectin-like receptor gene cluster on chromosome 12. Four alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding two distinct isoforms have been observed. [provided by RefSeq]
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