The mammalian natural killer gene complex (NKC) contains several families of type II transmembrane C-type lectin-like receptors (CLRs) that are best known for their involvement in the detection of virally infected or transformed cells, through the recognition of endogenous (or self) proteinacious ligands. However, certain CLR families within the NKC, particularly those expressed by myeloid cells, recognize structurally diverse ligands and perform a variety of other immune and homoeostatic functions. One such family is the 'Dectin-1 cluster' of CLRs, which includes MICL, CLEC-2, CLEC12B, CLEC9A, CLEC-1, Dectin-1 and LOX-1. Here, we review each of these CLRs, exploring our current understanding of their ligands and functions and highlighting where they have provided new insights into the underlying mechanisms of immunity and homeostasis.
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