Kuby Immunology says

They (NK cells) do not express antigen specific receptors and are considered part of the innate immune system.

Though they also have receptors for antibodies that bind to NK cells and help detect antigens or pathogenic cells that are killed by the secretions of their cytotoxic granules.

Couldn't we then call them cells of Adaptive immunity?

  • $\begingroup$ What edition are you using? As I mentioned in my comments to one of your other recent questions, immunologists no longer consider innate and adaptive immunity to be two entirely separate things. Cells thought to be involved in one are now seen to be involved in the other, and the processes are getting very blurred. You are quite correct that NK cells are involved in antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC), which is wholely an adaptive response due to the presence of antigen-specific antibodies on the surface of the target cell. Your textbook is simply incorrect. $\endgroup$ – MattDMo Oct 9 '16 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ @MattDMo It is the new edition, 7th Ed by Owen, Punt and Stranford. $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba Oct 9 '16 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ @MattDMo Following your comment I have a question. I was reading Wikipedia page on Innate lymphoid cell and stumbled upon this paragraph-'The distinction between the innate and adaptive immune system focused on the innate system’s nonspecific nature and lack of memory.As information has emerged about the functions of NK cells and other ILCs as effectors and orchestrators of the adaptive immune response, this distinction has become less clear.... (to be continued in second comment) $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba Oct 9 '16 at 14:59
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    $\begingroup$ Yup! you've answered your question. The NK cells donot have rearranged receptors. Nor do they have any memory. $\endgroup$ – Polisetty Oct 9 '16 at 15:12
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    $\begingroup$ The BCR and TCR (B cell and Tcell receptors) are formed by V(D)J recombination which accounts for their variability. This makes the receptors specific to a particular antigen. Kuby's got a whole chapter on that. Thanks for the memory thing, din't know! Anyway, found this article for nkcell memory cell.com/immunity/abstract/S1074-7613(15)00398-2 $\endgroup$ – Polisetty Oct 11 '16 at 18:30

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