The genetic and evolutionary balances in human NK cell receptor diversity.
In primates and cattle two ancient killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) lineages independently evolved to become diverse NK cell receptors. In mice, KIR genes were sidelined to the X chromosome, a possible consequence of pathogen-mediated selection on the receptor for IgA-Fc. In humans, KIR uniquely form two omnipresent haplotype groups (A and B), postulated here to play complementary and necessary roles in immune defense and reproduction. The basis of KIR3DL1/S1 polymorphism is three ancient lineages maintained by long-term balancing selection and present in all human populations. Conserved and variable NK cell receptors produce structurally diverse NK cell receptor repertoires within a defined range of missing-self-response.