Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) are encoded by one of the most polymorphic families in the human genome. KIRs are expressed on natural killer (NK) cells, which have dual roles: (1) in fighting infection and (2) in reproduction, regulating hemochorial placentation. Uniquely among primates, human KIR genes are arranged into two haplotypic combinations: KIR A and KIR B. It has been proposed that KIR A is specialized to fight infection, whilst KIR B evolved to help ensure successful reproduction. Here we demonstrate that a combination of infectious disease selection and reproductive selection can drive the evolution of KIR B-like haplotypes from a KIR A-like founder haplotype. Continued selection to survive and to reproduce maintains a balance between KIR A and KIR B.

Original publication

DOI

10.1007/s00251-016-0935-9

Type

Journal article

Journal

Immunogenetics

Publication Date

11/2016

Volume

68

Pages

755 - 764

Keywords

Human evolution, Infectious disease, Killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs), Natural killer cells, Reproduction, Evolution, Molecular, Haplotypes, Humans, Immunoglobulins, Infection, Killer Cells, Natural, Receptors, KIR, Reproduction