Lethal influenza infection in the absence of the natural killer cell receptor gene Ncr1.
The elimination of viruses and tumors by natural killer cells is mediated by specific natural killer cell receptors. To study the in vivo function of a principal activating natural killer cell receptor, NCR1 (NKp46 in humans), we replaced the gene encoding this receptor (Ncr1) with a green fluorescent protein reporter cassette. There was enhanced spread of certain tumors in 129/Sv but not C57BL/6 Ncr1(gfp/gfp) mice, and influenza virus infection was lethal in both 129/Sv and C57BL/6 Ncr1(gfp/gfp) mice. We noted accumulation of natural killer cells at the site of influenza infection by tracking the green fluorescent protein. Our results demonstrate a critical function for Ncr1 in the in vivo eradication of influenza virus.