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, Volume 62, Issue 8, pp 521–530

First Online: 11 June 2010Received: 05 March 2010Accepted: 11 May 2010


The natural killer cell gene complex NKC encodes receptors belonging to the C-type lectin superfamily expressed primarily by NK cells and other leukocytes. In the rat, the chromosomal region that starts with the Nkrp1a locus and ends with the Ly49i8 locus is predicted to contain 67 group V C-type lectin superfamily genes, making it one of the largest congregation of paralogous genes in vertebrates. Based on physical proximity and phylogenetic relationships between these genes, the rat NKC can be divided into four major parts. We have previously reported the cDNA cloning of the majority of the genes belonging to the centromeric Nkrp1-Clr cluster and the two telomeric groups, the Klre1–Klri2 and the Ly49 clusters. Here, we close the gap between the Nkrp1-Clr and the Klre1–Klri2 clusters by presenting the cDNA cloning and transcription patterns of eight genes spanning from Cd69 to Dectin1, including the novel Clec2m gene. The definition, organization, and evolution of the rat NKC are discussed.

KeywordsNK cell gene complex Lectin-like receptors Phylogenesis AbbreviationsAPLECAntigen-presenting cell lectin-like receptor gene complex

CLECC-type lectin-like

CLSFC-type lectin superfamily

sDCSkin dendritic cells

ITAMImmunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif

ITIMImmunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibition motif

NKCNatural killer cell gene complex

pMΦPeritoneal macrophages


Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1007-s00251-010-0455-y contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Line M. Flornes - Øyvind Nylenna - Per C. Saether - Michael R. Daws - Erik Dissen - Sigbjørn Fossum


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